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Novartis reports big increase in sales

The health care group, Novartis, has reported an impressive increase in first quarter sales and says that should ensure higher operating income for the year 2000.

The health care group, Novartis, has reported an impressive increase in first quarter sales and says that should ensure higher operating income for the year 2000.

First quarter sales were up 17 per cent to SFr9.34 billion. Pharmaceutical sales rose 18 per cent to just over SFr4 billion and the group said it was seeing the benefits of "strategically shifting resources to newer products and key growth drivers."

The anti-hypertensive drug, Diovan/Co-Diovan, saw a 50 per cent sales increase and there were big rises too for the cancer drug, Aredia, and the asthma treatment, Foradill.

Novartis, which has its headquarters in Basel, has also bought back its own shares to the value of SFr3 billion. It plans to buy back another SFr1 billion franc worth of stock. It said that plans for a share listing on Wall Street by the middle of the year were well underway.

The share-buy back programme and New York listing are designed to facilitate mergers and acquisitions in the United States.

Novartis is the world's third biggest health care and life sciences company.

swissinfo with agencies


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