By Cecilia Butini 
 

Roche Holding AG said Thursday that profit for the first half of the year decreased though sales grew, driven by the diagnostics division.

The Swiss pharmaceutical major posted net profit for the period of 7.80 billion Swiss francs ($8.50 billion), compared with CHF8.08 billion a year earlier, on sales that rose to CHF30.71 billion from CHF29.28 billion.

Operating profit was CHF10.08 billion, down from CHF10.64 billion the previous year.

Sales in the diagnostics division grew 51% due to high demand for Covid-19 tests and strong momentum in routine testing, the company said. It added that its portfolio of Covid-19 tests contributed total sales of CHF2.5 billion, though the demand for such tests is likely to decrease in the second half.

The pharmaceutical division, on the other hand, saw a decline in sales of 3% in the first half, having taken a hit from the pandemic in the first quarter followed by some growth in the second, Roche said. The company added that the division experienced a CHF2.8 billion hit from biosimilars, particularly in the U.S., where biosimilars were launched for cancer drugs MabThera/Rituxan, Avastin and Herceptin.

In Europe, sales for new products more than compensated for the impact from biosimilars and were driven by Ronapreve, an antibody combination used to treat Covid-19, especially in Germany, Italy and France, Roche said.

Roche confirmed its outlook for the full year, saying that it expects sales growth in the low-to-mid-single-digits range at constant exchange rates, and core earnings per share growth broadly in line with sales. It added that it expects to further increase its dividend in Swiss francs.

 

Write to Cecilia Butini at cecilia.butini@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 22, 2021 02:37 ET (06:37 GMT)

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