Swiss drug major Roche Group (RHHBY) reported on Thursday that its fiscal 2018 IFRS net income rose 23% to 10.87 billion Swiss francs from last year’s 8.83 billion francs, reflecting the benefits from the U.S. tax reform and higher net financial income.
Core earnings per share were 18.14 francs, compared to 15.34 francs a year ago. Core operating profit grew 9% from last year to 20.51 billion francs.
Group sales increased 7% at constant exchange rates and in Swiss francs to 56.85 billion francs from 53.30 billion francs a year ago.
Sales in the Pharmaceuticals Division increased 7% from last year to 43.97 billion francs, driven mainly by Ocrevus, Tecentriq, Perjeta, Alecensa and Hemlibra.
Diagnostics Division sales also grew 7%, primarily due to demand for immunodiagnostics sales.
Roche said Ocrevus is the most successful new product launch in the company’s history with sales of 2.4 billion francs in its first full year on key markets.
In the US, pharma sales increased 14 percent, led by Ocrevus, Perjeta and Lucentis. In Europe, sales fell 7 percent, affected by competition from biosimilars for MabThera/Rituxan and Herceptin.
In the International region, sales grew 10 percent, led by the Asia-Pacific and Latin America subregions. In Japan, sales declined 1 percent due to government price cuts and biosimilar competition
Diagnostics Division sales also grew 7 percent, primarily due to demand for immunodiagnostics sales.
The Board of Directors proposed a dividend increase to 8.70 francs per share and non-voting equity security. Subject to approval by the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders on March 5, this will be Roche’s 32nd consecutive annual dividend increase.
Looking ahead to fiscal 2019, Roche expects sales to grow in the low- to mid-single digit range and core earnings per share to grow broadly in line with sales, both at constant exchange rates.
Roche said it expects to further increase its dividend in Swiss francs.
Shares of Roche Holding AG (RHHBY) were gaining around 2 percent in Swiss trading after the drug major reported Thursday higher profit in its fiscal 2018 with the benefits from the U.S. tax reform as well as strong sales. Looking ahead to fiscal 2019, Roche expects sales to grow in the low- to mid-single digit range and core earnings per share to grow broadly in line with sales, both at constant exchange rates. The company said it expects to further increase its dividend in Swiss francs.
Roche CEO Severin Schwan said, “I am particularly pleased with the very strong demand for our new medicines, delivering significant benefit for patients fighting serious diseases like cancer, multiple sclerosis and haemophilia. …Based on the successful launches and our strong product pipeline Roche is well positioned for continued growth.”