News Column

Novartis Improves Q1 Profit

April 24, 2013

Pharmaceutical group Novartis raised its net profit by 7 per cent to 2.42 billion dollars in the first quarter, as business grew in emerging markets and demand for its new products improved, the Swiss company said Wednesday in Basel.

Europe's largest medicine group made revenues worth 14.02 billion dollars, 2 per cent higher than in the first three quarters of 2012.

Sales improved especially in Russia and China.

Novartis said several recently developed products sold well at the start of the year, including medicines to treat multiple sclerosis, organ transplants and leukemia.

Operating profit rose 6 per cent to 2.9 billion dollars, as Novartis further cut costs by narrowing the number of production sites.

The company announced it would cut 300 jobs at its US plant in Lincoln, Nebraska, where authorities had detected quality problems.

Novartis faces new problems in the United States, as New York prosecutors announced a lawsuit against the company on Tuesday, alleging a multi-million-dollar kickback scheme for pharmacies that defrauded public health care services.

Despite the improved earnings, the company expects its operating profit to fall by a mid-single digit number this year, from last year's 11.51 billion dollars, owing to competition from generic medicines, as well as investment in a large number of new products.

Novartis was among the few losers on the Swiss Exchange in Zurich on Wednesday, with its stocks falling by 0.87 per cent to 68.65 Swiss francs (72.55 dollars) during morning trading.

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Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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