AstraZeneca first-quarter sales tumble as generic losses bite deep

LONDON (Reuters) – AstraZeneca’s (AZN.L) sales fell by a bigger-than-expected 13 percent in the first quarter as patent expiries took a heavy toll, underscoring the turnaround challenge facing Britain’s second largest drugmaker.

The biggest damage was caused by loss of exclusivity on antipyschotic medicine Seroquel and heart drug Atacand in many markets, and on cholesterol fighter Crestor in Canada.

Sales of Brilinta – a new heart drug on which AstraZeneca is pinning high hopes – picked up modestly in the three months to end-March to $ 51 million (33 million pounds) from $ 38 million in the last quarter of 2012.

The group reiterated its expectation for a mid-to-high single digit percentage fall in revenue this year, with earnings declining significantly more due to increased operating costs.

Sales in the quarter of $ 6.39 billion generated “core” earnings, which exclude certain items, down 25 percent at $ 1.41 a share, the company said on Thursday.

Analysts had, on average, forecast sales of $ 6.51 billion and earnings of $ 1.31, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Chief Executive Pascal Soriot, who joined from Roche (ROG.VX) last October, set out a far-reaching plan last month to return the group to growth by axing one in 10 jobs and reorganising its drug research operations.

His plan promises no quick fixes, although he aims to double the number of drugs in late-stage development by 2016 and says he will scour the industry for bolt-on acquisitions with which to replenish the company’s medicine cabinet.

(Reporting by Ben Hirschler. Editing by Jane Merriman)


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Broadcom eyes more smartphone chip sales

By Noel Randewich

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Broadcom’s (BRCM.O) first-quarter results beat expectations and the chipmaker said much of its growth this year would come from selling more components to smartphone makers.

Broadcom’s quarterly earnings report pushed the chipmaker’s shares up after hours as company executives said they expect their baseband chips to appear in upcoming handsets.

Broadcom, which sells wireless chips used in Apple’s (AAPL.O) iPhone as well lower-end devices popular in Asia, posted first-quarter revenue of $ 2.01 billion, up 9.7 percent from the year-earlier period.

“Over the course of the year, we should see additional customers in our baseband business,” Chief Executive Scott McGregor told analysts on a conference call, of the chips that let cellphones communicate across networks.

Apple on Tuesday reported fiscal second-quarter revenue above expectations, but profit declined for the first time in a decade and CEO Tim Cook acknowledged that Apple’s growth rate had slowed.

With investors concerned Apple’s expansion may be losing steam, shares of Broadcom had fallen about 1 percent so far in 2013, compared to a 12 percent increase in the Philadelphia Semiconductor index.

Like its competitors, Broadcom is trying to diversify its customer base with more sales to manufacturers including Samsung Electronics , Apple’s main rival in smartphones and tablets.

Broadcom’s chips integrating wifi and Bluetooth technology are used in Apple’s iPhone and other top-tier smartphones and tablets.

The company makes 3G baseband chips used in less expensive smartphones sold in Asia and other emerging markets, and it plans to launch high-speed 4G baseband chips compatible with more advanced networks.

“Their strategy has been to get a foothold at a major supplier and work their way up,” said Kevin Cassidy, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus. “Now they’re expanding their footprint.”

Broadcom said revenue in the second quarter would be $ 2.10 billion, plus or minus 4 percent.

Analysts, on average, had expected first-quarter revenue of $ 1.913 billion and second-quarter revenue of $ 2.050 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Broadcom reported a net profit of $ 191 million, or 33 cents per share, compared with a net profit of $ 88 million, or 15 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted earnings per share were 65 cents, beating the 56 cents expected by analysts.

Shares of Broadcom rose 4.76 percent in extended trade after closing up 1.17 percent at $ 32.98.

(Reporting by Noel Randewich; Editing by Dale Hudson and Andrew Hay)


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Hasbro says Monopoly contest helped lift sales

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (AP) — Hasbro reported first-quarter results Monday that beat Wall Street expectations as the toy maker benefited from an online contest that let people vote to eliminate one of its Monopoly tokens and introduce a new one.

The Pawtucket, R.I., maker of G.I. Joe, My Little Pony and Transformers said revenue rose for three of its four categories: games, girls and preschool. Its boys category continued to face troubles, with sales down 20 percent.

Rival Mattel, which is the world’s biggest toy maker with its Barbie dolls, also reported better-than-expected results last week, as strong sales of dolls like Monster High, Disney Princess and American Girl helped more than quadruple net income.

Hasbro, meanwhile, said growth in its girls category for the period was driven by Furby, My Little Pony and One Direction. Play-Doh helped boost its preschool category and action games such as Angry Birds Star Wars helped fuel growth in the games category.

The company also noted that the Monopoly contest was “tremendously successful” and that it plans to follow up with new versions of the game.

The Facebook campaign earlier this year let people vote to eliminate one of the eight tokens that identify the players and introduce a new one. Ultimately, a cat token replaced the iron.

Toy makers are looking to adapt and reinvent old brands as the industry faces a slowdown in developed markets such as the U.S. and Europe, where mobile devices and electronics are stealing attention away from toys.

Hasbro has embarked on a cost-cutting program to maintain profitability, including a push to slash its workforce by 10 percent. The move also includes consolidating facilities and reducing the number of product extensions.

By 2015, it says the program will result in $ 100 million in savings annually. For now, the changes are taking their toll through restructuring charges.

For the quarter, Hasbro lost $ 6.7 million, or 5 cents per share. That compares with a loss of $ 2.6 million, or 2 cents per share, a year ago.

When stripping out the impact of a restructuring charge and tax adjustments, however, Hasbro Inc. said it earned 5 cents per share. Analysts expected adjusted earnings of 4 cents per share.

Revenue rose more than 2 percent to $ 663.7 million despite a hit of more than $ 3 million from foreign exchange rates.

In North America, revenue growth of 4 percent was driven by the girls and games categories. International revenue was flat, or up 1 percent when excluding the impact of foreign exchange rates. The increase was driven by growth in Latin America and Asia, as well as the games, girls and preschool categories.

Analysts expected $ 642.1 million in revenue.

Hasbro shares rose $ 2.59, or 5.7 percent, to $ 47.61 in morning trading after rising as high as $ 48.46 earlier, the highest since December 2010.


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Philips first quarter profits fall as sales slip

AMSTERDAM (AP) — Royal Philips NV, the maker of lights, consumer appliances and health-care equipment, on Monday reported a fall in first quarter profit due to weak sales and because last year’s figures included one-time gains.

Philips’ first-quarter net profit of 162 million euros ($ 212 million) was down from 183 million euros in the same period of 2012, when it enjoyed 119 million euros worth of one-time gains, notably from the sale of its Senseo coffee maker brand. Sales fell 1 percent to 5.26 billion euros.

“We reiterate our view of a slow first half to 2013, due to adverse market trends, especially in Europe and the U.S.,” said Chief Executive Frans van Houten in a statement.

It managed to increase its underlying profit margins, but only thanks to cost cuts.

Philips said weak construction activity was hurting its lighting division, though LED light sales were up 38 percent as the new technology continues to replace traditional incandescent bulbs. Philips is the largest maker of lights by sales.

The company said orders for its healthcare equipment were also weak, particularly in North America, where sales fell by more 10 percent on hospital budget cuts and new orders declined.

Consumer appliances such as electric shavers and coffee makers did better, with sales up 9 percent. Van Houten attributed that to the company’s strategy of tailoring its product offerings to individual markets.

By geography, sales fell 2 percent in developed markets, which account for two-thirds of sales. They increased by 2 percent in developing countries, which Philips calls “growth” markets.

Shares fell 2.2 percent to 21.19 euros in early Amsterdam trading.


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Philips sales, earnings fall in Q1

AMSTERDAM (AP) — Royal Philips NV, the maker of lights, home appliances and health-care equipment, has reported lower first quarter earnings due to weak sales and one-time gains in the same period a year ago. The company said its underlying margins have improved due to cutting costs.

Net profit was 162 million euros ($ 212 million), from 183 million euros in the first quarter of 2012, when the company had 172 million in one-time gains, notably from the sale of its Senseo coffee maker brand. Companywide sales fell by 1 percent to 5.26 billion euros.

“We reiterate our view of a slow first half to 2013, due to adverse market trends, especially in Europe and the U.S.,” said chief executive Frans van Houten in a statement.


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