LONDON, Feb 2 (Reuters) - AstraZeneca expects to increase drug sales at a low single-digit percentage rate this year as new medicines win market share and the company puts patent losses behind it, although the need to invest in launches will weigh on profit.
Product sales fell 5 percent in 2017, the company said on Friday.
Fourth-quarter profits were boosted by one-off tax gains with core earnings per share (EPS), which exclude some items, up 7 percent to $1.30 cents on revenue of $5.78 billion.
Analysts, on average, had forecast earnings of 84 cents on revenue of $5.46 billion, Thomson Reuters data showed.
For 2018, AstraZeneca expects core EPS of $3.30 to $3.50. (Reporting by Ben Hirschler; editing by Jason Neely)