July 25, 2012 / 5:29 AM / in 5 years

Lonza says demand remains strong despite headwinds

ZURICH, 25 July (Reuters) - Swiss drug industry supplier Lonza confirmed its profit guidance on Wednesday and said demand in its key business remained strong despite macroeconomic uncertainties.

The Basel-based group, which in the past has battled currency headwinds and volatile raw material prices, reported a 3.1 percent decline in first half net profit to 94 million Swiss francs ($94.59 million). Profit was hit by margin pressure in its key business of chemical custom manufacturing and the manufacture of vitamin B.

Sales grew by 64.4 percent to 1.964 billion francs due chiefly to last year’s $1.2 billion acquisition of US biocide company Arch Chemicals. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a net profit of 68.8 million and sales of 1.762 billion Swiss francs on average. ($1 = 0.9938 Swiss francs) (Reporting by Andrew Thompson)

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