By Cecilia Butini 
 

Roche Holding AG said Thursday that its 2020 net profit rose slightly, and the company proposed increasing its dividend.

The Swiss pharmaceutical major posted net income of 14.30 billion Swiss francs ($15.91 billion), up slightly from CHF14.11 billion in 2019.

The increase in profit was attributed to the lower goodwill write-offs compared with the previous year, the company said.

Core operating profit came in at CHF21.54 billion, compared with CHF22.48 billion.

Sales were CHF58.32 billion in 2020, which compared with CHF61.47 billion, the company said.

Core earnings per share were CHF19.16, compared with CHF20.16 the year prior.

Sales in the pharmaceutical division were hit by stronger-than-expected competition from biosimilars, which generated a reduction in sales of CHF5.1 billion in the U.S., Europe and Japan, the company said. The coronavirus pandemic also affected the pharma business, mainly due to missed medical appointments.

The company said the board proposed to increase the dividend to CHF9.10, subject to shareholders approval.

For 2021, Roche expects sales to grow in the low-to-mid-single-digit range at constant exchange rates, despite the impact of biosimilars. Core earnings per share are expected to grow broadly in line with sales at constant exchange rates, Roche said.

Write to Cecilia Butini at cecilia.butini@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 04, 2021 01:50 ET (06:50 GMT)

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