AstraZeneca profits slide as company announces new finance chief

AstraZeneca has continued to see sales and profits slide in the third quarter, as the drugs company announces the appointment of Marc Dunoyer as new chief financial officer. Shares have fallen this morning. (Release)

Profit before tax fell 22 per cent to $1.59bn (£0.99bn) for the quarter (ending 30 September), with core earnings at $1.91bn, down from $2.8m for the same period of 2012.

The expected decline comes on the back of recent losses of patent protection of key drugs, which accounted for around half of the $213m drop is US revenues, which were down eight per cent in the quarter.

Overall revenues in the quarter were down six per cent to $6.25bn (£3.9bn), and were, said the group, affected by exchange rate movements, particularly the Japanese yen.

AstraZeneca reiterated its expectation for a mid-to-high single digit fall in revenue this year. Earnings are expected to fall further as the company continue to invest in research and marketing as part of their global restructuring programme.

Mick Cooper, analyst at Edison Investment Research, comments that the company is making steady progress with its growth platforms but developments take time and the results "continue to be dominated" by the loss of patent protection for important products.

He adds that "AstraZeneca’s growth in China remains strong, and well ahead of many of its competitors. A few years ago, it was growing significantly behind the market in China, but it appears that the company is now benefiting from tightening its operating procedures during this period."