AstraZeneca confirms full-year guidance; CEO says results mark an important milestone

Total revenues were still stuck in reverse gear, but the underlying picture, measured by product sales, was healthier with the figure up 8% to US$5.27bn

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The UK's second-largest drugs group believes it has found the formula for success

AstraZeneca PLC (LON:AZN) said it was still on track to hit full-year guidance even after its earnings undershoot for the third-quarter.

Pre-tax profit dropped 36% to U$477mln in the three months ended September. This gave reported EPS of 37 cents a share, some 3 cents shy of consensus.

READ: AstraZeneca sells off three more non-core drugs for US$370mln

The drug giant’s total revenues declined 14% in the period to US$5.34bn, reflecting AZ’s decision to sell or outsource some of its older business lines.

The underlying picture, measured by product sales, was healthier with the figure up 8% to US$5.27bn.

Stand-out was the performance of the emerging markets business, which is now the company’s biggest operation, while the oncology arm saw its sales increase by over a half.

AZ currently has one of the strongest product pipelines among the drug majors with five recently-approved drugs coming onto the market, a further six awaiting the regulatory green light and six undergoing phase III trials.

Chief executive Pascal Soriot believes the UK’s second-largest pharma company is set for a “period of sustained growth for years to come”.

“Commercial execution has been exceptional and our new medicines are now firmly established as the drivers of growth, supporting our continued success in emerging markets,” he added.

Quick facts: AstraZeneca

Price: 7336 GBX

Market: LSE
Market Cap: £96.24 billion

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