Thursday 24 October 2019 9:01 am

Astrazeneca beats estimates in strong third quarter

Astrazeneca raised its full-year product sales forecast for the second time today, as it was boosted by strong demand for new cancer treatments and 40 per cent growth in China.

The drugmaker beat market expectations for both profit and sales in the third quarter, with sales hitting $6.13bn (£4.75bn), outstripping a consensus estimate of $5.86bn.

The London-listed firm said it remained prepared for the UK’s exit from the EU, even if took place without a deal.

Read more: Astrazeneca promises cash to back up £12m redundancy payments for former staff

Shares rose 2.6 per cent to 7,100p.

Astrazeneca’s third quarter performance marks its fifth consecutive quarter of growth.

The company said it expects 2019 product sales to rise by a low to mid-teens percentage, compared to a previous forecast of low double-digit growth.

For the year-to-date, product sales have grown 13 per cent to $17.31bn.

Read more: Astrazeneca gets boost as good news comes in pairs

Pascal Soriot, chief executive officer, said: “Another strong performance from our new medicines accompanied impressive results in our key markets, most notably in China, the US and Japan. The performance reinforces our confidence in delivering sustainable earnings growth.

“We are continuing to ensure that we capture the benefits of our growth by balancing reinvesting in our business, delivering on our sustainability commitments, continuing to improve our operating leverage and cash generation.”

Chinese sales rose 40 per cent in the quarter, while oncology sales jumped 48 per cent.

Astrazeneca reported core earnings of 99 cents per share, above analysts’ average expectation of 96 cents per share, according to a company provided consensus of 23 analysts.