© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Workers clean the windows of a building of Roche in Rotkreuz May 27, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo
By Michael Shields
ZURICH (Reuters) – Roche’s first-half sales increased by 8% at constant exchange rates to a better-than-expected 30.71 billion Swiss francs ($33.48 billion) as peak demand for COVID-19 tests helped the Swiss drugmaker rebound from a weak start to the year.
Diagnostics division sales grew by half due to demand for COVID tests and strong momentum in routine testing, Roche said, compensating for a 3% decline in pharmaceuticals sales, although drug sales returned to growth in the second quarter as new medicines performed well.
Core earnings per share rose 6% to 10.56 Swiss francs.
Roche maintained its forecast for 2021 sales to grow at a low- to mid-single-digit rate at constant exchange rates, with core earnings per share growing about the same as sales. It expects to increase its dividend, it added.
“We have achieved good results in the first half, primarily thanks to the demand for our new medicines and COVID-19 tests. The Pharma Division began to grow again in the second quarter. The base diagnostics business shows strong momentum,” Chief Executive Severin Schwan said.
“As expected the demand for COVID-19 tests peaked in the second quarter and is likely to decrease in the second half of the year even though this of course depends on how the pandemic will develop and significant uncertainties remain,” Schwan told a call with reporters.
“This virus will stay with us, it will continue to mutate, and as such there will be a continued need for vaccines, for new vaccines and boosters, as well as tests and medicines.”
Roche offers tests for everything from active COVID-19 infections to antibody tests that document immunity after somebody has been infected or vaccinated. They have been the driving force behind Roche’s growth since the pandemic began.
Roche’s oncology business had still not returned to pre-pandemic levels, he said.
Roche shares were indicated 0.7% higher in pre-market activity.
($1 = 0.9174 Swiss francs)
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.
Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.