Novartis says profit slips, sees H1N1 boost

Novartis says profit slips, sees H1N1 boost

Zurich: Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis on Thursday said that its nine-month net profit slid by 8% to $6.1 billion (€4 billion), hit by a weak dollar and acquisition costs.

However, the drugmaker raised its full-year sales forecast, as its new swine flu pandemic vaccines alone are expected to rake in up to $700 million worth of revenues in the fourth quarter.

Approximately 90 million to 120 million doses are expected to be produced by the end of 2009, with expected fourth-quarter net sales contributions of approximately 400 million to 700 million US dollars, it said in a statement.

The group said that its full-year net profits are expected to reach record levels in constant currencies, even excluding the contribution from H1N1 pandemic flu vaccine sales.

However it warned that the weak dollar could significantly reduce growth in reported results.

The impact of unfavourable currency exchange rates was apparent in the earnings statement for the first nine months of the year.

At constant currencies rate, net profit was up 2% compared to the same period last year, while sales were up 8%.

In dollar terms, however, net profit was down 8% while sales were flat year-on-year at $31.3 billion.