Basel: Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis reported Wednesday a 25% jump in profits in 2008 to $8.16 billion and forecast a record year in 2009.
Boosted by vaccines, diagnostics and consumer health products, the company said sales increased by 9% to $41.6 billion in 2008.
The earnings were nevertheless below the $8.5 billion forecast by analysts interviewed by the Swiss financial news agency AWP.
Higher taxes and the costs of financing its April 2008 purchase of 25% stake in the eye drugs maker Alcon, weighed on profits, the company said.
The company appeared to have so far largely escaped the global financial crisis, although sales grew just 1% in the final quarter of 2008.
“Thanks to successful innovation and a leading market position of our healthcare business portfolio, Novartis achieved a strong performance in 2008,” Novartis CEO Daniel Vasella said in a statement.
“Novartis anticipates another year of record results in 2009, continuing on its path of sustainable growth.”