Novartis raises forecast on strong first half

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Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis on Thursday posted net profit growth of 19 percent in the second quarter, prompting it to raise its revenues forecast for the full year.

Net profit reached 2.44 billion dollars during the second quarter, up from 2.04 billion a year ago, beating forecasts of analysts polled by the economics agency AWP who had expected a figure of 2.35 billion dollars.

Net sales were also up 11 percent at 11.7 billion dollars.

"Based on the strong first half, we are raising our sales guidance for the full year," said Novartis in a statement.

It now expects its sales growth at constant currency to reach "mid- to high-single digits," while earlier it had forecasted growth of around five percent.

But the group noted that its sales and profits are being affected by volatility in the foreign exchange rates.

Its sales benefited by seven percent from exchange rates in the first quarter, but slipped back one percent in the second quarter.

"If exchange rates remain where they are for the remainder of the year the impact on the second half is expected to be negative. Overall for the year a small negative impact is expected," it added.

© 2010 AFP

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