Roche predicts higher earnings due to cost cuts

SWISS drugmaker Roche raised its full-year earnings target for 2011 yesterday as cost-cutting protected its first-half profitability from the impact of the strong Swiss franc.

The Basel-based group is now aiming to grow core earnings per share around 10 per cent in local currencies this year, after previously guiding for high single-digit growth.

But it stuck to its target of low single-digit sales growth in local currencies as austerity measures on both sides of the Atlantic continue to weigh, while the rallying Swiss franc also ate into its top-line in the first six months of the year.

Roche’s first-half core earnings per share slipped four per cent to SwFr6.68 (£5.00), though this was still ahead of the average estimate of SwFr6.48.

“All in all, we expect investors will be modestly relieved by these results, which confirm management is meaningfully tackling Roche’s cost base,” Deutsche Bank analysts said in a note, adding that this could be at least party offset by slowing underlying sales of pharmaceuticals.