LONDON, April 24 AstraZeneca highlighted
progress with a new generation of cancer drugs that may revive
its fortunes as it posted a 17 percent fall in core earnings per
share on Thursday, reflecting patent losses on profitable older
Britain's second-biggest drugmaker made no reference to a
reported 60 billion pound ($101 billion) bid approach from
Pfizer in its results statement. The firm's new cancer
drugs are seen as a key draw for the U.S. group.
AstraZeneca reiterated that 2014 sales were likely to fall
by a low-to-mid single digit percentage figure, with earnings
declining "in the teens" as generic competition is expected to
kick in for its popular heartburn and ulcer drug Nexium.
Sales in the first quarter were flat at $6.42 billion,
generating "core" earnings, which exclude certain items, of
$1.17 a share.
Industry analysts, on average, had forecast sales in the
quarter of $6.37 billion and earnings of $1.20 a share,
according to Thomson Reuters.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler, Editing by Paul Sandle)