Novartis posts 12 percent drop in H1
The Swiss pharmaceutical comapny is positive about drug sales, including H1N1 vaccines.Geneva -- Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis said Thursday its first half net profit fell 12 percent to USD 4.019 billion (CHF 6.092 billion, EUR 2.857 billion), hurt by a negative currency impact and financing costs in acquiring eye care group Alcon.
It maintained its outlook for 2009, with net income stripping out the effects of acquisitions or disposals, expected to reach record levels in 2009.
However the Basel-based group also warned that this record result could be "more than offset in reported results by currency-related losses".
The group's sales also indicated the impact of negative exchange rates on its earnings. While first half sales grew eight percent in local currencies to USD 20.255 billion, this was translated to a drop of two percent in US dollars.
Chairman and chief executive Daniel Vasella said, "We continue to expect record underlying results in constant currencies based on innovation and productivity initiatives."
Among future products is a vaccine against the swine flu virus, with clinical trials due to begin in July.
"Novartis has started large-scale antigen production at all sites in Europe, using both traditional egg-based manufacturing as well as its faster cell-based vaccine production capacity to maximize the potential vaccine supply," it said.
It has already "secured several orders for H1N1 vaccines amid discussions with more than 35 governments".
These orders include USD 979 million worth of contracts from the US government.
France, the Netherlands and Switzerland have also placed orders, a Novartis spokesman said, declining to reveal the value of these deals.
AFP / Expatica