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AstraZeneca Q3 Net Profit Boosted By Disposal

LONDON, October 27, 2011 (AP) - Drug maker AstraZeneca says underlying profit was down 2 percent in the third quarter but net profit more than doubled because of the sale of a subsidiary.

The Anglo-Swedish company said Thursday that net profit for the quarter was $3.48 billion, up from $1.55 billion a year earlier, boosted by a $1.5 billion gain from the sale of its Astra Tech subsidiary.

Astra Tech, which makes dental implants and medical devices, was sold to Dentsply International Inc., based in York, Pennsylvania.

On a constant exchange rates basis, AstraZeneca said core operating profit and revenue were both down by 2 percent.

Sales revenue was up 4 percent on a reported basis to $8.2 billion.

AstraZeneca shares were up 1.4 percent at 3,085 pence in early trading on the London Stock Exchange.

David Brennan, the company's chief executive officer, said the results were in line with its guidance "against the backdrop of anticipated generic competition and government price interventions."

Earnings per share were up 12 percent, a result of the company's share repurchase program which has totaled $3.9 billion in the first nine months of the year.

AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. said Wednesday that U.S. regulators will take three more months to review the companies' experimental diabetes drug dapagliflozin, delaying a decision on the drug to late January.

An advisory committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced in July that the efficacy and safety data so far did not support approval of the drug for treating Type 2 diabetes. The companies said they would be submitting new data from recent clinical trials.

"For a drug that the market assumed was dead in the water following a tough adcom (advisory committee) in July, we believe this is positive news," analysts at Panmure Gordon & Co. said in a research note.


Posted: October 2011