Covid tests net Switzerland’s Roche a surge in profits

Covid tests net Switzerland's Roche a surge in profits
Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche, which has been at the forefront of producing coronavirus tests and research into treatments, on Thursday reported higher profits for 2020.

Annual net profit rose 7.0 percent to 15 billion Swiss francs (13.9 billion euros, $16.6 billion), despite the negative effects of exchange rates and a drop in over-the-counter sales, it said in a statement.

Sales were down 5.0 percent overall from the previous year, at 58.3 billion Swiss francs. Analysts surveyed by Swiss agency AWP had forecast sales of 59.7 billion Swiss francs.

Revenues from its diagnostics division jumped 14 percent, largely due to sales of its Covid-19 tests, which offset a downturn in other tests such as those for diabetes.

“Roche continues to make important contributions to fighting the Covid-19 pandemic,” CEO Severin Schwan said in the statement.

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“We developed in record time a comprehensive portfolio of diagnostic solutions and entered new partnerships to develop and produce effective Covid-19 medicines.”

For the current year, Roche predicted sales would grow “in the low- to mid-single digit range” at constant exchange rates.

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