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AstraZeneca Stock Up On Strong Q4 Results, Positive FY21 View

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Shares of AstraZeneca Plc were gaining around 2 percent in London trading as well as in pre-market activity on Nasdaq after the British drug major projected higher core earnings and revenues in fiscal 2021 after reporting strong fourth-quarter results.

Further, the company has declared a stable second interim dividend of $1.90 per share or 137.4 pence, resulting in a stable full-year dividend per share of $2.80 or 207.0 pence.

Looking ahead for fiscal 2021, the company projects total revenue to increase by a low-teens percentage at constant exchange rates, accompanied by faster growth in Core earnings per share to $4.75 to $5.00.

In fiscal 2020, core earnings per share were $4.02 and total revenues were $26.62 billion, both higher than the previous year.

The company said the guidance excludes any revenue or profit impact from sales of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca (C19VAZ), as well as the proposed acquisition of Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., anticipated to close in the third quarter.

For the fourth quarter, profit before tax was $1.17 billion, significantly higher than last year's $240 million. Earnings per share were $0.78, up from $0.24 last year. Core earnings per share were $1.07, up 19 percent.

Total revenue, comprising Product Sales and Collaboration Revenue, increased 11 percent to $7.41 billion from last year's $6.66 billion. Revenues increased 10 percent at constant exchange rates. Product sales improved 12 percent to $7.01 billion.

Oncology revenues climbed 24 percent from last year to $3.27 billion, and BioPharmaceuticals revenues grew 3 percent to $2.79 billion.

On a geographical basis, revenues grew 7 percent in Emerging Markets with strong 15 percent increase in China. US revenues climbed 15 percent, and revenues from Europe went up 17 percent.

Separately, AstraZeneca announced that non-executive directors Geneviève Berger and Graham Chipchase intend to retire from the Board at the conclusion of the Annual General Meeting on April 30, after serving nine years on the Board.

In London, AstraZeneca shares were trading at 7,395 pence, up 2.04 percent. In pre-market activity on Nasdaq, the shares were gaining 1.7 percent to trade at $50.84.

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