AstraZeneca beats expectations despite patent cliff

AstraZeneca continues to feel the effects of the expiry of patents on key brands, with revenues declining in the third quarter, although it has maintained its core earnings per share (EPS) target, as defined by the company, for the full year.

AstraZeneca continues to feel the effects of the expiry of patents on key brands, with revenues declining in the third quarter, although it has maintained its core earnings per share (EPS) target, as defined by the company, for the full year.

Revenues for the quarter at $6,682m were down 15% at constant exchange rates, with loss of exclusivity on several brands and the disposals of Astra Tech and Aptium cited as the key reasons for the revenue decline.

Reported EPS in the third quarter was $1.22, a 50% decline at constant exchange rates, better than the consensus expectation of $1.13.

For the nine months to September 30th, actual revenues fell 17% to $20,691m compared to 2011 with pre-tax profit dropping 23% to $7,578m.

Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer, commenting on the results, said: "As expected, the company's financial performance in 2012 largely reflects the ongoing impact from the loss of exclusivity for several brands in key markets, as well as the challenges that confront the pharmaceutical industry as a whole.

"On a more positive front there was strong growth for Symbicort, Faslodex, Iressa and Onglyza. Moreover revenues from emerging markets increased by 6% at constant exchange rates, with 23% revenue growth in China and Russia in the third quarter.

Core EPS target range for the full year was maintained at $6.00 to $6.30.

In calculating 'core' financial measures AstraZenenca excludes certain significant items, such as charges and provisions related to its global restructuring programmes, amortisation and impairment of the significant intangibles relating to our acquisition of MedImmune in 2007 and its exit arrangements with Merck in the US, and other specified items.

Year-to-date net share repurchases totalled $2.3bn. On October 1st, the company announced that it had suspended its share buy-backs. The group's initial full-year target for repurchases was $4.5bn.

CM

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