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Novartis Q3 Profit Tops View, But Sales Miss; Lifts FY Core Operating Income Outlook

Novartis AG (NVS) reported that its third-quarter net income declined 5% to $1.93 billion from last year, as higher operating income was offset by a higher tax rate. Quarterly net income was flat at constant currencies basis.

Earnings per share was $0.85, down 6% or flat at constant currencies basis, from the previous year.

Operating income from continuing operation was $2.4 billion up 2% or 9% at constant currencies basis, from the prior year mainly due to lower spending, improved gross margin and gains on financial assets, partly offset by higher legal charges.

Core earnings per share for the quarter were $1.52, up 8% from the previous year. It was up 9% at constant currencies basis. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report earnings of $1.45 per share for the third-quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Net sales for the third quarter were $12.3 billion, up 1% from last year, driven by volume growth of 7 percentage points, offset by price erosion of 4 percentage points and the negative impact from generic competition of 3 percentage points. Net sales were flat at Constant currencies basis. Analysts expected revenues of $12.53 billion for the third-quarter.

Core operating income for fiscal year 2020 is now expected to grow low double digit to mid teens at constant currencies basis, upgraded from the prior outlook low double digit growth.

The company expects annual net sales to grow mid single digit at constant currencies basis.

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