BERLIN (AP) — Swiss drug maker Novartis AG reported a jump in fourth-quarter net profit to $2.08 billion on Wednesday, citing the lack of a $900-million one-time charge it took in the same period the previous year.
Net profit during the final quarter of last year rose 72 percent from the $1.21 billion net profit posted in the final three months of 2011, when the Basel-based company took a hit from ending its clinical study into wider uses of the hypertension drug Tekturna.
The results were slightly above most analysts' expectations, lifting Novartis shares by 2.9 percent to 61.85 Swiss francs ($66.59) on the Zurich exchange by mid-morning.
Chief Executive Joseph Jimenez said Novartis has a strong range of new products coming out of its research and development pipeline — including a new infant vaccine for meningitis — and predicted net sales to grow after 2013.
Fourth-quarter sales in 2012 were almost flat at $14.83 billion compared with $14.78 billion in the same period the previous year, and sales in 2013 are expected to suffer from the expiry of patents on hypertension drug Diovan.
Novartis said Gilenya, its one-daily pill against multiple sclerosis, attained what it calls 'blockbuster status' with full-year sales of $1.2 billion in 2012.
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