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Novartis announces results, company ready to spin-off Alcon

Novartis has announced its financial results for 2018, while also stating that its Alcon eye care division is still on track to be spun-off as a standalone entity later this year.

The pharmaceutical giant reported net sales reached US$13.3 billion (AU$18.7b), which is equivalent to a 3% increase, or 6% at constant currency rates.

Net core income was at US$2.9 billion (AU$4.1b), which accounted for a 2% increase, or 8% at constant currency rates. The company’ s full year core operating income increased by 8% due to higher sales and gross margin expansion.

A 9% volume in sales with the Entresto and Consentyx brands, oncology medicines, and the Alcon segment drove Novartis’ overall sales increase.

Alcon’s sales performance totalled US$1.8 billion (AU$2.5b) in Q4, representing a 2% increase or 4% at constant currency. These were highlighted by a 3% constant currency increase for vision care sales along with double-digit increases for the Dailies Total1 and Systane brands.

Full-year Alcon sales totaled US$7.1 billion (AU$10.0b), which is a 6% increase or 5% at constant currency.

Mr Vas Narasimhan Novartis CEO said in 2018 the company reimagined itself.

“We took major steps towards becoming a medicines company that focuses its capital on developing, launching and creating global access to breakthrough medicines. Together with delivering strong accretive growth, we also advanced our strategic priorities including building new advanced therapy platforms, ramping up productivity and digital efforts, and creating a new culture.

“Looking ahead, we expect to sustain top and bottom line growth driven by the strength of our in-line brands and our exciting lineup of 10 potential blockbuster launches by 2020,” Narasimhan said.

Novartis also announced that the spin-off of Alcon is still on-track, with the company awaiting the final endorsement of the move within the first half of the year.

“Alcon is positioned for sustainable long-term top-line growth and margin expansion as demonstrated by the strong 2018 results,” a statement from the company said.

Shareholders will be voting for the spin-off proposal during the company’s annual meeting. The spin-off of Alcon is also still subject to regulatory approval.

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