Pharma: Novartis posts 18% growth in annual profit

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Swiss pharmaceutical group Novartis said on Thursday that its annual net profit grew by 18 percent in 2010 as strong sales helped it stay in line with analysts' forecasts.

Net profit reached 9.97 billion dollars (7.28 billion euros), the group said in a statement.

Sales grew by 14 percent year on year to 50.6 billion dollars.

Novartis acknowledged that its operating income, which grew by 15 percent, was nonetheless "impacted" later in the year by the drop in sales of special flu vaccines with the declared end of the H1N1 flu pandemic.

"Novartis achieved excellent results in 2010 as all divisions contributed to above-market growth," said chief executive Joseph Jimenez.

© 2011 AFP

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