5 March 2004
BERLIN – German pharmaceuticals concern Schering said Friday that it aims to double its business in the United States in the coming two years, while also undertaking a buyback of shares this year to shore up the company’s stock.
Germany’s third-largest pharmaceuticals company said it expects business volume in the US market to reach USD two billion (EUR1.6 billion) by 2006, double the current level.
The company made the disclosure while issuing its 2003 business figures which confirmed earlier preliminary results showing a sharp downturn in operating profit and net income.
The company said its net group profit fell to EUR443 million in 2003, down nearly one-half from the EUR867 million the year before, with the company citing adverse currency effects.
After adjusting for currency factors, the net group profit was actually only 4 percent below comparable 2002 figures, Schering said.
Operating profit came to EUR686 million, down 7 percent from the 2002 figure of EUR741 million.
The results came on net sales of just under EUR4.83 billion, down 4 percent from 2002, Schering said.
For 2004, the company is expecting “mid single digit growth in net sales,” Schering chief financial officer Joerg Spiekerkoetter said.
“Schering will once again buy back shares in 2004,” he said, with the management “committed to a share buyback programme of up to four million shares to take place throughout 2004.”
Schering will go to shareholders with its figures at the annual general meeting in Berlin on 16 April.
The report had little initial impact on Schering stocks, with a mid-morning quotation on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange of EUR40.72, up a slight 0.27 percent.
Subject: German News