Novartis reports 19% rise in profit and 12% in sales

Novartis reports 19% rise in profit and 12% in sales


Basel: Swiss pharmaceutial company Novartis has reported 19% growth in its nine-month profit on Monday, saying it would end the year with record sales and earnings despite volatile economic conditions.

It also announced that it was slashing 550 sales jobs in the United States, in a reorganization that is expected to save the group $80 million yearly from 2010.

“Despite economic uncertainty in world markets, Novartis is on track for another year of record results in 2008, continuing to build momentum by focusing on innovation and performance," said Daniel Vasella, chairman and chief executive of the group.

The Basel-based group’s nine-month net profit soared 19% to $6.7 billion while sales were up 12% to $31.4 billion.

For the third quarter alone, net profit was up 32% to $2.08 billion, the group said in a statement.

Novartis, which makes drugs such as hypertension medication Diovan, said it was pushing for expansion in high growth emerging markets, and that emerging markets now make up about a quarter of total sales.

In its seven priority markets of Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Russia, South Korea and Turkey, net sales for the nine months rose 17% to $3.3 billion.

Analysts at Bank Vontobel described the results as “in line with expectations," but said that investors were “more likely" to go for profit taking, thereby holding down the stock price, which rose by nearly 12% on Friday.

But Novartis shares were showing a fall of 1.18% to 58.80 Swiss francs while the overall Swiss market was up 1.43%.