* 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