AstraZeneca 4Q Core Operating Profit Tumbled, Expects Growth in 2020

16 Février, 2020, 18:38 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Pascal Soriot chief executive officer of Astra Zeneca

AstraZeneca's annual profit fell 14% as rising costs and higher asset writedowns offset sales increases at the pharmaceutical company.

Total revenue rose 3.9% to $6.66 billion, also falling short of analysts' expectations of $6.73 billion at the top line.

The company, moving into a third year of growth, predicted revenues would rise by a high single-digit to a low double-digit percentage at constant exchange rates this year, compared with 13% in 2019. Core earnings dropped 44% to 89 cents a share.

At 1312 GMT, AstraZeneca shares were down 2.3% at 7,448 pence.

AstraZeneca forecast a likely slowdown in revenue growth this year, assuming a hit from China's coronavirus epidemic lasting up to a few months, although it added there had been limited disruption to its operations so far.

Credit Suisse, in a note ahead of the results, said it expected a sales growth forecast in the high-single-digits before factoring in any coronavirus impact.

Investors seemed confused by the news, initially sending the shares down 5% to £72 before bidding them back up to £76.60.

Marc Dunoyer executive director and chief financial officer of Astra Zeneca
Marc Dunoyer executive director and chief financial officer of Astra Zeneca

AstraZeneca today warned that the coronavirus epidemic would hit its performance this year in key market China.

Sales were up a reported 12% for the full year to almost $23.6 billion, and CEO Pascal Soriot noted that several new drugs are likely to drive growth in the coming year. Results from our new medicines and emerging markets accompanied positive news for patients, most recently including regulatory approvals of Enhertu in breast cancer and Calquence in leukaemia ...

Chief executive Pascal Soriol commented, 'we are becoming a better-balanced business, both regionally and through our medicines.

"Management guidance will disappoint (although) we would flag that AstraZeneca has attempted to quantify the impact of COVID-19 in its guidance, with other large pharma - e.g., GlaxoSmithKline - excluding this impact", Shore Capital analysts said.

AstraZeneca returned to growth in 2018 for the first time since 2014 when it fought off a hostile takeover bid from Pfizer.

"Last year was a good one for AstraZeneca, having twice raised sales guidance", said AJ Bell analyst Russ Mould, adding that the 2019 earnings were "a fairly decent set of full year results".

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