July 17, 2011 / 9:41 AM / 8 years ago

Roche half-year results to beat expectations -paper

* Big jump in pharma margin seen

* Cost cuts more than make up for strong Swiss franc

ZURICH, July 17 (Reuters) - Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG will report better-than-expected first-half results on Thursday, with its pharma division showing a big jump in its margin, a newspaper reported on Sunday.

Without citing its sources, the SonntagsZeitung newspaper said Roche would report a “massive increase” in first-half margin for its core pharma division to 39.1 percent from 34.9 percent at the end of 2010.

A spokesman for Roche, the world’s largest maker of cancer drugs, declined to comment on the report.

The newspaper said the strong Swiss franc would hit pharma sales by 13-15 percent but cost savings would more than make up for that, allowing the division to report flat sales overall.

Roche announced last November it would cut 4,800 jobs, or 6 percent of its workforce, over the next two years as it grapples with recent product setbacks and mounting pressure on prices and hoped for 1.8 billion Swiss francs ($2.2 billion) of savings in 2011.

$1 = 0.819 Swiss Francs Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by David Hulmes

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