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Roche boss seeks better growth in US

Roche chief executive Franz Humer wants a push in the US Keystone

Roche chairman and chief executive, Franz Hummer, says the company needs to do more to grow in the United States market.

Hummer told the Swiss biweekly journal “Finanz und Wirtschaft” that “Further efforts are still needed in order to grow in the United States in line with the market”.

The interview followed Roche’s announcement on Monday that it would buy 50.1 per cent stake in Japanese drug firm, Chugai Pharmaceuticals.

Humer said the Japanese acquisition would give the Swiss healthcare company the strongest market position in Japan of any foreign firm in the sector.

“But with this step we are by no means ruling out other steps, for example in the United States,” he said.

But he added that Roche’s Swiss primary objective in the US was “organic” or internal growth.

He said a restructuring had helped Roche achieve double-digit growth in the US again.

Prescription drugs sales growth in the US market in local currencies rose by 11 per cent in the first nine months of 2001.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR