(RTTNews) - Swiss drug major Novartis AG (NVS) on Tuesday reported that its net income for the third quarter grew 26 percent to $2.04 billion from $1.62 billion in the year-ago period. On a per share basis, earnings rose 29 percent to $0.90 from $0.70 in the prior-year period.
Core net income for the quarter rose 5 percent from last year to $3.21 billion, while core earnings per share increased 7 percent to $1.41 from $1.32 in the prior-year quarter.
Net sales from continuing operations increased 10 percent, or 13 percent in constant currencies, to $12.17 billion from $11.02 billion a year ago.
The increase in net sales was driven by volume growth of 16 percentage points, mainly from Cosentyx, Entresto, Zolgensma and the Xiidra acquisition. Strong volume growth was partly offset by the negative impacts of pricing and generic competition.
On average, analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report earnings of $1.33 per share for the quarter on sales of $11.66 billion. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.
Looking ahead to fiscal 2019, Novartis raised its forecast for core operating income upwards, and now projects it to grow in the mid-to-high-teens in constant currencies, compared to the prior outlook for growth in low-double digit to mid-teens in constant currencies.
The company also raised its outlook for full-year net sales, which is now projected to grow in high-single digits in constant currencies, compared to the prior outlook for growth of mid to high-single digits in constant currencies.
Novartis said its board of directors is nominating Dr. Simon Moroney, for election to the Board at the Annual General Meeting on February 28, 2020. Dr. Moroney is one of the co-founders of the Germany-based biotechnology company Morphosys and served as it's CEO until September 1, 2019.
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