BASEL (dpa-AFX) - Novartis AG (NVS) reported that its first-quarter net income declined 5% or 7% at constant currencies to $2.1 billion from the previous year, mainly due to lower operating income. Earnings per share was $0.91 down from $0.96 in prior year.
Quarterly operating income was $2.4 billion, down 12% or 14% at constant currencies from the previous year, mainly due to lower gross profit impacted by pricing erosion at Sandoz, manufacturing restructuring, higher impairments, partly offset by lower legal expenses.
Core earnings per share were $1.52 compared to $1.56 in the prior year. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report earnings of $1.59 per share for the first-quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.
Net sales for the first-quarter were $12.4 billion, up 1% from the prior year, driven by volume growth of 3 percentage points, price erosion of 2 percentage points and negative impact from generic competition of 3 percentage points. But, quarterly net sales were down 2% at constant currencies basis. Analysts expected revenues of $12.51 billion for the quarter.
At constant currencies basis, the company still expects net sales to grow low to mid single digit; core operating income to grow mid single digit, ahead of sales for fiscal year 2021. Sandoz sales are expected to decline low to mid single digit.
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