AstraZeneca share price slides as pharmco posts drop in sales and earnings

Group’s performance hit by fall in Crestor sales

AstraZeneca share price slides as pharmco posts drop in sales and earnings

Shares in AstraZeneca (LON:AZN) have taken a hit this morning as the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker updated investors on its first-quarter performance, posting a fall in revenue and earnings. The company suffered from lower sales of its flagship cholesterol drug Crestor, which has been under pressure from cheaper generics, as well as a slump in externalisation revenue.

As of 08:18 BST, AstraZeneca’s share price had given up 2.66 percent to 5,203.00p, underperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index having slipped marginally into the red and standing 0.17 percent lower at 7,774.82 points. The group’s shares have added less than one percent to their value over the past year, as compared with about a 4.6-percent gain in the Footsie.

AstraZeneca’s results disappoint

AstraZeneca announced in a statement this morning that its total revenue had fallen nine percent to $5.18 billion in the first three months of the year. The group’s Product Sales dipped two percent, with  continued growth of newer medicines and China, offset by the erosion of Crestor sales. The blue-chip pharmco’s externalisation revenue meanwhile slumped 67 percent. The pharmco’s core earnings per share fell 51 percent to $0.48.

“Encouraging launches and strong performances from our newer generation of medicines made a significant contribution to Product Sales in the quarter, paving the way for our anticipated return to growth in 2018,” AstraZeneca’s chief executive Pascal Soriot commented in the results statement, adding that the pharmco’s performance had been in line with expectations and full-year guidance remained unchanged.

Analysts weigh in on results

“Despite the headline miss on product sales and Core EPS, we believe these results are a reasonably solid set of numbers,” Liberum analyst Roger Franklin wrote, as quoted by Proactive Investors.

As of 09:16 BST, Friday, 18 May, AstraZeneca plc share price is 5,193.60p.

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