The Novartis healthcare group in Basel has reported an "excellent performance" in 2001, with net profit climbing by eight per cent to SFr7 billion ($4.2 billion).
The company announced on Thursday that sales had increased by ten per cent over the previous year to SFr32 billion, driven by pharmaceuticals and the sustained dynamism of its United States business, where pharmaceuticals sales jumped by 24 per cent.
"In 2001, we reaped the rewards of our strategic focus on healthcare and specifically on the pharmaceuticals business and the US market," commented Novartis chairman and CEO Daniel Vasella.
Novartis said in a statement that barring any unforeseen events, group sales were expected to increase in the mid to high single-digit range this year, with operating and net income rising.
Earnings per share rose in 2001 by ten per cent to SFr2.73.
The company said it was proposing to raise its 2001 dividend to 90 centimes per at the annual shareholders' meeting.
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