AstraZeneca is hoping for a three-year Brexit transition period

Courtney Goldsmith
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The British pharma firm is calling for a longer transition period after Brexit (Source: Getty)

The chairman of pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca is hoping Britain and Brussels agree a transition period of at least three years following Brexit.

Leif Johansson said the firm wants "at least three years" to transition after Britain leaves the European Union in 2019, "and very early in that period, we need to know what to expect in years four, five and six," he told Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

The UK government has angled for a two-year transition period to avoid a cliff-edge Brexit in 2019 and restore business confidence. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said the transition period should not last longer than two years.

AstraZeneca was preparing for a "no deal" situation, but it did not yet have any concrete plans in place, Johansson added.

Shares in the British drugs giant rose 1.13 per cent to 5,011p in afternoon trading.

AstraZeneca has been critical about the Brexit process before. The company's boss, Pascal Soriot, did not sign a letter of support for the Prime Minister last month because of the lack of progress and uncertainty around the post-Brexit trade relationship.

Downing Street had asked the bosses of FTSE 100 companies to back Theresa May with a letter of support. At the time, Soriot said: "How can we support something that we don't really understand fully?"

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