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May 18, 2018, 2:30 a.m. EDT

AstraZeneca quarterly profit drops, sales rise

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By Carlo Martuscelli

Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca PLC (AZN.LN) said Friday that first-quarter profit fell 37% despite a slight rise in sales, citing divestment timing as one of the factors that hurt its overall results.

The drug maker said net profit was $340 million, compared with $537 million in the first quarter of 2017 and a consensus forecast of $114.2 million, according to five analysts polled by FactSet.

Core operating profit--the company's preferred measure, which strips out one-time gains and impairments--fell to $896 million from $1.67 billion. This compares with a consensus of $993.5 million, according to FactSet.

Total revenue slipped to $5.18 billion from $5.41 billion in the year-earlier quarter. Analysts forecast revenue or the period of $5.23 billion, according to FactSet.

Product sales rose 3% to $4.99 billion in line with the company's guidance for a low single-digit percentage increase. The company said strong performance in China and newer medicines across all therapy areas was offset by the decline of Crestor sales in Europe and Japan.

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