30 August 1999 00:00 [Source: ICB Americas]Roche has made an extra provision of $640 million to cover possible damages and legal costs in class action lawsuits brought against it in the US because of its involvement in a vitamins cartel.
The company has already made a special charge of $500 million in its results for the first half of the year. This is the amount it has agreed to pay in a settlement with the US Justice Department.
But the $1.1 billion in provisions does not cover the outcome of investigations by the European Commission and other regulatory authorities. Nor does it cover civil suits filed in Canada and Australia.
In the first half, sales by Roche's vitamins and fine chemicals division fell by 7 percent to SFr 1.7 billion ($1.2 billion). The division's operating profit dropped 22 percent to SFr 297 million. Its return on sales was 17 percent.
The company plans to strengthen its position in the global vitamins market by raising productivity and launching new products. Roche's sales of vitamins declined in the US during the first half, but the company posted double-digit growth in China and the rest of Asia.
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