Roche boosts dividend on higher profits

Roche boosts dividend on higher profits
Photo: Roche
Swiss drug giant Roche said on Wednesday its net profit rose by two percent last year to 9.8 billion francs ($10.6 billion) and said it was increasing its dividend.

The Basel-based company said its overall sales rose by four percent measured at constant exchange rates to 45.5 billion francs, aided by strong sales of cancer drugs and diagnostic tests to laboratories.

The results were slightly better than the consensus of analysts forecast by Swiss financial news agency AWP, which expected net profit of 9.65 billion francs on sales of 45.4 billion francs.

 Last year "was a very good year for Roche," chief executive Severin Schwan said in a statement.

 "We met our financial targets, grew faster than the market, and our strong pipeline positions us well for further growth," he said.

Schwan pointed to the approval last year of Roche's breast cancer medicine Perjeta, with another breast cancer treatment nearing market.

Roche said it expected similar sales growth in 2013 with core earnings to rise even faster.
The company's board proposed increasing the dividend for 2012 by eight percent to 7.35 francs and foresaw increasing the dividend further in 2013.

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