0 3 min 1 yr

2022-02-10 11:50:00

— AFP/File

LONDON: British COVID vaccine maker AstraZeneca mentioned Thursday that internet profit collapsed final yr, hit by the huge takeover of US biotech agency Alexion and different prices, regardless of surging revenues.

Profit after tax slumped to simply $112 million (98 million euros) in contrast with $3.2 billion in 2020, the pharmaceutical firm mentioned in a press release.

Nonetheless, revenues together with COVID-19 vaccine gross sales rebounded 41% to $37.4 billion.

The COVID jab, Vaxzevria, achieved full-year gross sales of virtually $4 billion.

Nonetheless, the group warned Thursday of declining coronavirus product gross sales this yr because the lethal pandemic recedes.

Sturdy development 

“AstraZeneca continued on its strong growth trajectory in 2021,” mentioned chief government Pascal Soriot, noting robust progress on new medicines alongside the acquisition and integration of Alexion.

“We also delivered on our promise of broad and equitable access to our COVID-19 vaccine with 2.5 billion doses released for supply around the world, and we made good progress on reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.”

The UK group confronted huge prices final yr following its $39-billion takeover of US biotech firm Alexion, whereas it additionally took massive impairment and restructuring prices.

AstraZeneca, which developed its COVID jab with Oxford College, initially provided the vaccine at value throughout the pandemic in distinction to rivals together with Pfizer, however indicated in November that it will begin promoting it at a profit.

Soriot added that the group was rising its shareholder dividend after what he described as a “landmark year”.

The annual dividend was upped to $2.90 per share.

AstraZeneca added that it anticipates that COVID product gross sales will sink by “a low-to-mid twenties percentage” this yr.

That’s anticipated to be partially offset by gross sales of Evusheld, its preventative moniclonal antibody remedy for immunocompromised individuals.

But AstraZeneca warned that the gross profit margin from its COVID-19 medicines was anticipated to be “lower than the company average”.

The group additionally revealed Thursday that it had swung right into a pre-tax annual lack of $265 million, after a $3.9-billion profit final time round.

In response to the outcomes, AstraZeneca’s share worth rallied 3.5% to eight,655 pence in early morning commerce on London’s rising inventory market.

Jab ‘raised profile’ 

“The COVID vaccine has raised Astra’s global profile significantly, with its previous not-for-profit status now being removed,” mentioned Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Keith Bowman.

“For now, and with further innovation and new drug successes ongoing, analyst consensus opinion continues to point to a strong buy.”

Rival drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline had reported Wednesday that 2021 earnings had slumped by 1 / 4, after the prior yr was boosted by asset gross sales.

GSK has to date failed to provide a profitable COVID vaccine in contrast to AstraZeneca, however is creating a jab alongside French peer Sanofi.

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