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Oct. 27, 2020, 2:56 a.m. EDT

Novartis profit falls, lifts core op. income view

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By Cecilia Butini

Novartis AG said Tuesday that third-quarter net profit fell while sales grew, and raised its 2020 outlook for core operating income.

The Swiss pharmaceutical major posted net profit of $1.93 billion from continuing operations, down from $2.04 billion for the same quarter a year prior. The slump was mainly due to legal provisions, Novartis said.

Operating income was $2.41 billion, up from $2.36 billion.

Core operating income came in at $4.07 billion compared with $3.75 billion the previous year.

Net sales from continuing operations rose to $12.26 billion from $12.17 billion in the third quarter of 2019, the company said.

Entresto, Zolgensma and Coventyx were among the key growth drivers for sales, Novartis said.

The company said that even though overall market conditions had been recovering throughout the third quarter, the coronavirus pandemic continued to weigh on parts of its business, including dermatology, opthalmology and Sandoz retail.

Novartis guided for net sales growth in the mid single digits and upgraded its core operating income guidance of growth in the low-double-digits to mid teens. It had previously guided for core operating income to growth in the low-double-digits.

The company said that the guidance is conditional on a return to normal global health-care systems, including prescription dynamics.

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

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