Novartis predicts good 2008 in spite of 4Q difficulties

By Alex Steblinina. Restructuring charges and the impact of generic competition led to sharp fall in 4-quarter profits of Novartis.

The Swiss drugmaker said that despite current difficulties it would restore growth in the second half of the year.

Novartis predicts another year of record net sales and earnings.

Operating profits decreased in the fourth quarter to $1.23 billion on a rise in sales to $6.15 billion. A 307 million dollars restructuring charge had worsened the situation – for it took operating profits down 43 per cent to $925 million.

Novartis International AG is a multinational pharmaceutical company based in Basel, Switzerland that manufactures drugs such as diclofenac (Voltaren), carbamazepine (Tegretol), valsartan (Diovan), imatinib mesylate (Gleevec), cyclosporin A (Neoral / Sandimmun), letrozole (Femara), methylphenidate hydrochloride (Ritalin), terbinafine (Lamisil), etc. Novartis owns Sandoz, a large manufacturer of generic drugs. The company formerly owned the Gerber Products Company, a major infant and baby products producer, but announced in April 2007 it was selling Gerber to Nestlé. Legal responsibility for Gerber was transferred from Novartis to Nestlé on 1 September 2007.

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