Novartis posts double-digit 2Q income increase

7/17/2008

BASEL, Switzerland Novartis today announced that it had a 17 percent increase in net income for the second quarter, according to the reports. Net income also increased, from $1.9 billion last year to $2.3 billion during the three months ending June 30.

Sales grew 14 percent to $10.7 billion on stronger-than-expected growth in the pharmaceuticals division, the company said. Vaccines and diagnostics sales expanded at a fast pace. But growth of its generic company Sandoz and consumer health products was only moderate because of difficult market conditions in the U.S.

The company has been hit by strong competition from generics, particularly in America. This, combined with the withdrawal of its bowel drug Zelnorm from the U.S. market last year, contributed to a 3 percent drop in U.S. sales for the second quarter.

But on the brighter side, Novartis last week completed the first stage of its $38 billion takeover of the eye-care company Alcon. It also acquired a majority stake in the Swiss pharmaceutical maker Speedel Holding last week and said it planned to buy the remaining shares in a public tender offer.

Speedel and Novartis jointly developed the high blood pressure drug Tekturna.

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