Roche flags higher profits, divd after FY earnings rise 11 pct

BASEL Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:14am EST

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BASEL Jan 30 (Reuters) - Swiss drugmaker Roche expects profit to grow faster than revenue in 2013 as strong sales of its cancer medicines and improvements in productivity helped it post an 11 percent rise in full-year earnings.

The Basel-based drugmaker said it hoped sales this year will grow in line with 2012, where group sales rose 7 percent to 45.5 billion Swiss francs ($49.35 billion). It is also aiming core earnings per share to grow ahead of sales.

This positive assessment contrasts with cross-town rival Novartis which guided for a fall in profits in 2013 as it grapples with competition from cheaper copies of its top-selling product.

Roche posted an 11 percent rise in 2012 core earnings per share to 13.62 Swiss francs, compared to 12.30 a year ago. Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast for 13.60 francs. ($1 = 0.9221 Swiss francs) (Reporting by Caroline Copley)

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