AstraZeneca share price: Soriot deflects talk of Pfizer bid

on Apr 25, 2014
Updated: Jun 1, 2022
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iNVEZZ.com, Friday, April 25: Pascal Soriot, chief executive of AstraZeneca Plc (LON:AZN), has defended the drugmaker’s strategy, pouring cold water on a potential merger with US pharma giant Pfizer (NYSE:PFE).

AstraZeneca’s share price closed 3.28 percent higher at 4,175p in London yesterday.
**AstraZeneca CEO defends strategy**
Chief Executive Pascal Soriot yesterday said that he remained focused on sharpening AstraZeneca’s portfolio, indicating that he was not interested in mega-mergers.
“Large mergers and acquisitions can work but can be very disruptive,” he said, as quoted by The Telegraph. “We’re better off focusing on what we do well.”

Soriot’s comments came as the UK’s second-largest drugmaker reported first-quarter revenue of $6.4 billion (£3.8 billion), three percent up on a constant-exchange-rate basis. (AstraZeneca share price: First-quarter revenue inches higher) The group’s core earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter dropped 11 percent on a CER basis to $1.18, while core operating profit came in at $1.95 billion, down 11 percent on a CER basis.

AstraZeneca also updated investors on its pipeline progress, noting that it was moving four compounds into late-stage clinical testing, two for cancer and two for breathing disorders. Soriot, however, warned that profits would continue to take a hit with the company pouring in cash to replenish its pipeline.
Analysts were impressed with AstraZeneca’s pipeline progress, with cancer drugs in particular seen as the main draw for Pfizer.

“We think AstraZeneca will return to growth faster than many believe, which underlines Pfizer’s opportune timing,” Edison Investment Research analyst Mick Cooper told Reuters. In January, AstraZeneca said it believed a return to growth would come sooner than forecast by analysts, noting that it expected revenues in 2017 to be broadly in line with last year. (AstraZeneca share price: Pharma giant forecasting faster return to growth)

**Other options**
Soriot revealed that AstraZeneca was looking at partnerships and collaborations to strengthen its neuroscience and antibiotics units, which did not fit with the company’s core areas of oncology, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, and respiratory and inflammation.
“We are looking at all possible options, collaborations, partnerships and part divestment,” he said, as quoted by The Times. “We have no set opinions yet… more to come soon.”
AstraZeneca’s chief executive commented on the three-way multibillion dollar deal between GlaxoSmithKline (LON:GSK) and Novartis (VTX:NOVN), announced earlier this week, noting that it was “a win-win for both companies”. GSK and Novartis have agreed to launch a joint consumer healthcare business and swap certain assets. (GSK share price jumps on multibillion dollar deal with Novartis)
**As of 8:01 BST, buy AstraZeneca shares at 4,129.50p.**
**As of 8:01 BST, sell AstraZeneca shares at 4,125.00p.**

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