Wed, Jul 20, 2011 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

PHARMACEUTICALS

Novartis Q2 profits rise 12%

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis said yesterday its second quarter net profit rose 12 percent to US$2.72 billion, lifted by strong demand for new drugs. “Our recently launched products continue to transform our portfolio, our new products grew 46 percent and represent now 25 percent of our group sales in Q2,” Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez said. Sales of recently launched products contributed US$3.8 billion to overall group sales, which were up 27 percent at US$14.9 billion. Currency impact lent an 8 percent boost to overall revenues. For the rest of the year, the group said it was maintaining its forecast for sales growth reaching “around the double-digit mark.”

DEFENSE

Saab AB doubles profits

Swedish aerospace and defense company Saab AB more than doubled its profits in the second quarter as margins improved. Saab’s net profit reached 425 million kronor (US$64.7 million), up from 177 million kronor in the same period last year, but sales dipped to 5.86 billion kronor, from 5.99 billion kronor a year ago. The Linkoping, -Sweden-based company’s gross margin increased to 27.5 percent from 24 percent in the second quarter last year, when it posted restructuring costs of 25 million kronor and a one-time hit of 150 million kronor for a terminated contract.

APPLIANCES

Electrolux profits slump

Electrolux, a leading global maker of household appliances, yesterday reported a profit slump because of high materials prices and weak demand, and warned of difficult trading conditions for the rest of the year. Net profit for the second quarter dropped by 46 percent from the figure last year, and the price of shares in the group slumped by 11.2 percent to 128.40 kroner in early trading in a market showing an overall gain of 1.2 percent. In the quarter, net profit amounted to 561 million kroner from 1.03 billion kroner in the second quarter of last year.

SOFTWARE

Microsoft touts health site

Microsoft on Monday offered its HealthVault as a new care center for digitized medical records kept at Google Health. Google announced last month that it was pulling the plug on its free Health service because it has not flourished since its launch in early 2008. Microsoft detailed a simple way for people to shift Google Health records to HealthVault in encrypted files to protect the privacy of the information. Google’s service for storing and selectively sharing personal medical records online will “retire” on Jan. 1, but users will be able to download their information through the end of next year, according to the California firm.

CHINA

Tax revenue rises 29.6%

Tax revenue rose 29.6 percent to 5 trillion yuan (US$773 billion) in the first half of the year, giving officials more room to maneuver as they grapple with swelling local-government debt. The gain, reported by the Ministry of Finance on its Web site yesterday, compared with a 32.4 percent increase in the first quarter a year earlier. “Stable” economic growth and rising company profits helped to bolster revenue, with inflation also playing a role, the ministry said. Revenue from personal income tax rose 35 percent from a year earlier and money from resource taxes climbed 45 percent, according to the finance ministry, which also cited improvements in collection.

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