Lonza says it's well on track for the future

A clean room helps in the making of sophisticated products (Lonza) Lonza

The Lonza chemical and biotechnology company, based in Basel, has reported a 36.2-per-cent increase in net profit in 2005 to SFr188 million ($148.9 million).

This content was published on January 25, 2006 - 09:12

Lonza, which makes ingredients for the pharmaceutical industry, reported a sales increase of 15.5 per cent to SFr2.521 billion.

Earnings were boosted by a 177-per-cent increase at Lonza's exclusive synthesis and biopharmaceuticals unit, due to new contracts and high use of capacities at its flagship plant in the United States.

Analysts polled by Reuters had on average expected Lonza to boost 2005 net profit by 38 per cent to SFr190 million.

Lonza, whose share price rose by 25 per cent in 2005, is proposing an unchanged dividend of SFr1.30.

The company said in a statement on Wednesday that it expected sales growth of between seven and ten per cent annually and an increase in earnings before interest and tax at low-level double-digit levels.

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It commented that due to secured contracts and confirmed pipeline projects, Lonza's prospects until well into 2008, had "dramatically increased".

The company added that to implement planned projects it would need to hire 500 new employees worldwide this year.

Lonza landed new contracts throughout 2005 and the New Hampshire plant is working at near-full capacity, producing drugs for Genentech and Bristol Squibb Myers.

In outlining its strategy for the future, Lonza said that it was building a large-scale plant in Singapore in its biopharmaceuticals business.

In its exclusive synthesis unit, it has put measures in place to deliver market leadership in peptides, which are short chains of amino acids. A research and development centre in Nansha, China has been strengthened.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

2005 financial results:
Sales - SFr2.521 billion (+ 15.5% over 2004)
Net profit – SFr188 million (+ 36.2 per cent)
Proposed dividend: SFr1.30 (unchanged)
Staff at end of 2005 – 5,984 (+ 5.6%)

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In brief

Lonza traces its origins back to the banks of the River Lonza in the southern Swiss canton of Valais.

The company, which was founded in 1897, dominates the landscape in the town of Visp.

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