Novartis records solid first six months

The Basel-based company is happy with sales for the first half of 2003 Keystone

Novartis says it is on track to make record earnings this year after posting a one per cent rise in first-half net profits to $2.38 billion (SFr3.24 billion).

This content was published on July 21, 2003 - 12:25

The Basel-based pharmaceutical firm said the increase over the same period last year was helped by strong sales, which rose 20 per cent in dollar terms.

Novartis said it had seen strong growth in pharmaceuticals (+18 per cent) and generics (+87 per cent), which lifted first-half sales to $11.9 billion.

Figures were boosted by Novartis' switch this year to reporting in US dollars instead of francs.

“I am pleased with our strong performance as our consistent strategy continues to deliver double-digit sales growth and market share gains,” commented chairman and chief executive Daniel Vasella in a Novartis statement.

“For the remainder of the year, we forecast continued strong sales growth, with earnings supporting our strategy to bolster research and development and bring innovative medicines to patients,” he added.

Outlook maintained

Novartis is maintaining its 2003 outlook for group and pharmaceutical sales to grow in the high single to low double-digit range in local currencies.

It says these targets are based on the continuing strong performance of its flagship pharmaceutical brands and new product rollouts.

Current high flyers are the hypertension drug Diovan and Gleevec/Glivec for chronic myeloid leukaemia.

Novartis said the proportion of sales generated by newer products launched within the past five years rose to 24.5 per cent from 19.6 per cent in the previous first half.

It added that investments in research and development were expected to increase as a proportion of sales in 2003.

The statement commented that this underscored the group’s commitment to bring new therapies to patients.

Roche stake loss

Novartis said its stake in Basel rival, Roche, cost it $310 million before tax in the first half, including $269 million booked in the first quarter for Roche’s 2002 loss (SFr4 billion). The rest, it added, represented an estimate for the first half of the current year.

Novartis has built up nearly a third of the votes in Roche but overtures to merge have been rejected.

In 2002, the company reported sales of $20.9 billion and a net income of $4.7 billion.

swissinfo with agencies

Key Facts

In 2002, the company reported sales of $20.9 billion and a net income of $4.7 billion.
Last year, the company invested about $2.8 billion in R&D.
Novartis group companies employ about 78,200 people and operate in more than 140 countries.

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In Brief

Novartis has reported a 20 per cent increase in sales to 11.9 billion, with net income of $2.38 billion.
The company says it continues to gain market share and is set to show record earnings for 2003, barring any unforeseen circumstances.

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