Roche blames strong Swiss franc for 5% profit drop

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Swiss pharma giant Roche on Thursday blamed the strong Swiss currency for a 5.0-percent drop in its first half net profit to 5.259 billion francs (4.483 billion euros, $6.410 billion).

On a currency adjusted basis, net profits were up 10 percent, said the group.

"These results reflect the strength of the groups business as well as the impact of the strong appreciation of the Swiss franc against all currencies relevant for Roche since the first half of 2010," the Basel-based group said.

"However, (the) underlying currency exposure is mitigated by the large majority of the cost base being located outside of Switzerland," it added in its earnings statement.

The group's sales also plunged 12 percent to 21.671 billion francs year-on-year, but rose 5 percent when measured in US dollars.

Despite the currency impact, Roche maintained its full year earnings outlook in local currencies for sales.

"Barring unforeseen events, group and pharmaceuticals sales (excluding Tamiflu) are expected to grow at low single-digit rates in local currencies, reflecting the impact of US healthcare reforms and European austerity measures," it said.

© 2011 AFP

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