Basel-based pharmaceutical group, Roche, has posted healthy first-half figures, amid efforts to improve flagging drug sales.
For the group as a whole, first half operating income adjusted for special items rose 11 per cent to SFr2.38 billion ($1.4 billion), while net income rose 13 per cent to SFr3 billion.
This latest set of financial numbers excludes Roche's former flavours and fragrances division, Givaudan, which was spun off in June.
"Barring extraordinary events, Roche anticipates another good full year result in 2000," the company said in a statement.
It added that after the successful launch of its anti-obesity drug, Xenical, last year, Roche's pharma division experienced weaker growth "particularly in the second quarter".
Roche's top-selling antibiotic, Rocephin, had a seasonal slowdown in the first half. Overall drug sales, which have been a major concern of analysts, rose two per cent in local currencies and 10 per cent in Swiss francs to SFr8.9 billion in the first six months of the year.
In the near-term, Roche said that its pharma division "anticipates an upturn in sales revenues".
Apart from drugs, sales in Roche's diagnostics division continued to grow faster than the market as a whole. Its third main division, vitamins and fine chemicals, was expected to post another full year sales rise, with market prices becoming more stable, though volume growth was expected to be less dynamic in the second half.
Roche was founded in 1896 and adopted a holding status in 1989. It is one of Switzerland's largest pharmaceutical and chemical companies.
swissinfo with agencies
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