AstraZeneca reports profit rise to 2.1 billion dollars

29th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

Anglo-Swedish pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca said on Thursday that second-quarter net profit jumped to 2.1 billion dollars on strong performance across emerging markets and sales of key drugs

AstraZeneca said profit after tax rose 23 percent to 2.107 billion dollars (1.617 billion euros) in the three months to the end of June compared with the equivalent figure in 2009, causing it to lift its full-year profits forecast.

Analysts had meanwhile estimated net profits at a lower level of 1.94 billion dollars for the second quarter, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

Group sales grew one percent to 8.178 billion dollars in the quarter, boosted by sales of cholesterol drug Crestor, anti-psychotic drug Seroquel and asthma treatment Symbicort.

"Our second-quarter performance reflects continued strong growth in our emerging markets and good performance for key brands," chief executive David Brennan said in the group's earnings statement.

Britain's second-biggest drugmaker, which reports in dollars, increased its full-year earnings per share target to a range of 6.35 to 6.65 dollars. It is the second time in three months that it has raised the core target.

AstraZeneca faces a steep drop in sales over coming years. Seven of its drugs, including three bestsellers, face generic competition by 2014 -- a higher ratio than major European competitors.

But the group won a major boost on Wednesday when a panel of the US Food and Drug Administration backed the use of ticagrelor, a proposed anticlotting drug developed by AstraZeneca, despite concerns the product might not work in US patients.

Also on Thursday, the company increased its target for net share repurchases for 2010 to two billion dollars, double an initial target.

© 2010 AFP

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