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Pharmaceutical giant reports rise in profits

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche announced on 3 February that its full-year net profits rose by 11% year-on-year, despite putting into place a cost saving restructuring program.

In a statement, the family-controlled company said that its profits increased in 2010 to 8.67 billion Swiss francs (€6.71 billion), from 7.78 billion francs the year before. However, its sales for the year reduced by 3%, attributed to the poor performance of its flu drug Tamiflu.

Non-family chief executive Severin Schwan said in a statement: “The group results are solid despite an increasingly challenging market environment.”

The family-controlled company said that its costs had increased in 2010 due to company restructuring. Roche is putting into place measures expected to generate savings to the tune of 2.4 billion francs from 2012 onwards. But the cost of restructuring is expected to total 2.7 billion francs.  

The company also sees difficult times ahead. Roche forecast single-digit growth for the year ahead, due to the US healthcare reform and the austerity measures being taken in Europe.  

Roche was founded in 1896 by Fritz Hoffmann-La-Roche. It started as a small company manufacturing vitamin C, and has today transformed into a global health care company. The Roche family owns half of the business and fellow Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis owns a 33% stake.

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