AstraZeneca share price surges as investors cheer Q2 results
Shares in AstraZeneca (LON:AZN) have jumped more than three percent in London in today’s session, even as the London-listed pharmco posted a drop in half-year sales, pressured by generic competition on some of its top-selling drugs. The company, which was a takeover target for US pharma giant Pfizer about two years ago, declined to comment on whether it could attract the interest of Swiss rival Novartis.
As of 13:27 BST, AstraZeneca’s share price had added 3.19 percent to stand at 4,839.50p, outperforming the blue-chip FTSE 100 index which has slipped marginally into the red and is currently 0.11 percent worse off at 6,743.03 points. The pharmco’s shares have gained nearly 16 percent over the past year, and are up by more than four percent in the year-to-date.
AstraZeneca announced in a statement today that its total revenue had dropped three percent to $11.7 billion in the first six months of the year, reflecting a two-percent decline in Product Sales, driven by patent expiries. The pharmco, however, posted $251 million in New Oncology sales, reflecting the launch of its new lung cancer drug Tagrisso. Oncology is one of the areas on which the Anglo-Swedish group is counting to fuel growth. The group’s core earnings meanwhile dipped 20 percent during the reported period.
“Our performance in the first half was in line with expectations, reflecting the anticipated near-term patent expiry challenges and the phasing of Externalisation Revenue in 2016,” the group’s chief executive Pascal Soriot commented in the statement, adding that the company’s growth platforms had continued to advance, making up 60 percent of the company’s total revenue.
Reuters separately reported today that Soriot had declined to comment on whether AstraZeneca could become a takeover target once more, two years after it saw off a bid from Pfizer. The newswire noted that Citi analyst Andrew Baum had suggested in a note this week that the FTSE 100 drugmaker’s biotech expertise and advanced immunotherapy cancer pipeline made it an attractive target for Switzerland’s Novartis.
“We never comment on speculation or rumours or theories. A number of people will have those assumptions but we do not comment on those,” AstraZeneca’s CEO pointed out.
As of 13:50 BST, Thursday, 28 July, AstraZeneca plc share price is 4,844.75p.