10 October 2002 14:28 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--Roche said Thursday it expects its core pharmaceuticals and diagnostics activities to achieve double digit sales growth in local currencies next year.
The Swiss group recorded a 7% rise in core sales in local currencies to SF19.27bn ($12.9bn/Euro13.2bn) for the first nine months of 2002, although in Swiss francs the increase was just 1%.
Group sales, including the vitamins and fine chemicals division, were flat in Swiss francs at SF21.71bn but in local currencies were 6% higher. Roche has agreed to sell the vitamins and fine chemicals division to Dutch group DSM.
Roche confirmed its full year forecast of a mid- to high-single digit increase in group sales, in local currencies, accompanied by further improvements in operating profit and EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) margins.
Nine month sales from the pharmaceuticals division were flat (up 6% in local currencies) at SF13.90bn, with prescription sales up 1% (6%) at SF12.76bn. Roche expects a mid-single digit rise in full year sales, in local currencies, excluding Chugai.
Roche’s acquisition of Japan’s Chugai took effect on 1 October. The newly created Japanese operation will be consolidated in Roche’s results from the fourth quarter of this year and will add approximately SF2.5bn to pharmaceuticals sales on an annual basis.
The diagnostics division raised nine month sales by 5% (11% in local currencies) to SF5.37bn, boosted by a strong performance from the diabetes care and molecular care activities in the third quarter. For the full year, Roche said the division is on track to expand its market lead with double-digit growth.
In the vitamins and fine chemicals division, nine month sales were 5% lower (flat in local currencies) at SF2.57bn, despite improved volumes. The positive growth trend in North America continued, said Roche, while in Europe the downward trend was reversed. To offset pricing pressures, the division is proceeding with its reorganisation of manufacturing operations and marketing infrastructure, the group added.
Roche also revealed today that it has set aside additional provisions of SF1.2bn to cover liabilities from a vitamin price-fixing case. It said its costs in relation to the vitamins case now total SF4.3bn, including provisions, fines and settlement costs.
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