Expectations exceeded: Novartis shares in green: Recovery from COVID loads in the second quarter – CureVac vaccine production continues | message
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Products such as the psoriasis product Cosentyx and the heart drug Entresto have contributed to this, but the subsidiary Sandoz, which specializes in imitation drugs, also performed better again, as the Swiss announced on Wednesday in Basel. A year ago, the Covid pandemic had put a strain on business, because many people at the time shied away from going to the doctor. The goals for 2021 confirmed the Stoxx Europe 50 heavyweight.
The numbers were well received on the stock market. With a plus of two percent on the SIX on Wednesday morning, the Novartis shares are now also in the plus this year, but still lagging behind the European selection index or competitors such as Roche. Surprisingly high sales and better margins ensured that the pharmaceutical company also performed better than expected in terms of earnings per share, wrote analyst Peter Welford from the Jefferies investment bank in a study. Investors’ interest in the share is still relatively low, but the quarterly report could now ensure a slightly positive price reaction.
However, the group is not yet quite as it was before the pandemic. “I think we are currently at 80 to 90 percent of the pre-Corona level,” said CFO Harry Kirsch in a conference call with journalists. Different therapeutic areas and also individual regions showed great differences. In the area of oncology in particular, the group is a little further removed from the business activity it saw before the outbreak of the pandemic.
In the second quarter, sales increased by 14 percent year-on-year to just under $ 13 billion (around EUR 12 billion); in constant currencies, the increase was nine percent. The pharmaceutical division contributed the lion’s share of quarterly sales, increasing sales in the second quarter by 15 percent to $ 10.6 billion. Sustained strong sales of the cardiac remedy Entresto, the psoriasis remedy Cosentyx and the gene replacement therapy Zolgensma contributed in particular to this.
In the Sandoz division, which specializes in generic drugs, sales increased by eleven percent to $ 2.4 billion. Business there had started to stabilize, it said. However, sales growth in Europe was offset by a clear decline in the USA. This deficit in the US market is mainly due to the business with products sold in the retail trade, with orally administered drugs in particular stalling.
The operating result of Novartis increased in the second quarter by 48 percent to 3.5 billion dollars, the bottom line the group earned with 2.9 billion dollars around 55 percent more than in the previous year. In addition to higher sales, capital gains also contributed to this. In 2021, Novartis continues to target growth in sales at constant exchange rates in the low to mid single-digit percentage range. Adjusted operating profit is expected to grow faster than sales and in the mid-single-digit percentage range.
Novartis plans to continue manufacturing the CureVac vaccine this year
The Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis still expects to manufacture the Covid-19 vaccine from the German biotech company CureVac.
“We started production as planned. We plan to deliver 50 million cans this year,” said Novartis CFO Harry Kirsch on Wednesday in a conference call. Novartis could not comment on the effectiveness of the corona vaccine or the likelihood of approval. If there is a need for additional production capacities, for example from BioNTech / Pfizer or others, Novartis can expand this further. “We’re not limited to one or the other.”
Novartis is already supporting Biontech / Pfizer in the production of their vaccine. The CureVac vaccine is to be manufactured by Novartis in Kundl, Austria. The vaccine was only 48 percent effective in the crucial clinical trial. Despite the disappointing study results, CureVac still hopes for use by the European Union.
BASEL (dpa-AFX) / Frankfurt (Reuters)
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