AstraZeneca Q1 sales tumble as generic losses bite deep

LONDON, April 25 Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:09am EDT

LONDON, April 25 (Reuters) - AstraZeneca's sales fell by a bigger-than-expected 13 percent in the first quarter as patent expiries sent revenue from key medicines skidding lower, underscoring the turnaround challenge facing Britain's second biggest drugmaker.

The group reiterated its expectation for a mid-to-high single digit percentage fall in revenue this year, with earnings declining significantly more due to increased operating costs.

Sales in the quarter of $6.39 billion generated "core" earnings, which exclude certain items, down 25 percent at $1.41 a share, the company said on Thursday.

Analysts had, on average, forecast sales of $6.51 billion and earnings of $1.31, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

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