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AstraZeneca tops sales forecasts, stays calm on Brexit


(Reuters) - British drugmaker Plc beat expectations for product sales in the fourth quarter and forecast a second consecutive year of growth, driven by gains in emerging markets including and demand for its new cancer medicines.

The company was also the latest pharma to say that it had made extensive preparations for Brexit, adding it assumed that Britain's departure from the would be "orderly" even if it leaves without a deal with

Much of AstraZeneca's push to build a strong shelf of newer drugs and turn around a slump in sales is riding on cancer treatments Imfinzi and Lynparza, as it looks to compete with Merck & Co's blockbuster Keytruda.

Oncology drug sales rose 61 percent to $1.78 billion in the quarter, while sales from rose 22 percent to $948 million.

Company shares were seen rising 2 percent at opening, according to traders in

Overall product sales in the three months ended Dec. 31 rose 8 percent to $5.77 billion at constant currency, helping return the company to annual sales growth for the first time since 2014 as it recovers from the loss of a number of patents.

Analysts had forecast product sales of $5.66 billion, according to a company provided consensus.

The company said it expects a high single-digit percentage rise in product sales in 2019.

Total revenue, including royalties and milestone payments, rose 14 percent to $6.42 billion in the fourth quarter, while the company's core earnings came in at $1.58 per share.

Analysts were expecting core earnings of $1.48 per share and total of $6.31 billion.

(Reporting by and in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, February 14 2019. 13:03 IST