Swiss drug maker Roche sees Q1 sales rise

GENEVA (AP) — Swiss drug maker Roche Holding AG has posted a 6 percent increase in group sales in the first quarter compared to the same period last year.

The Basel, Switzerland-based pharmaceutical company reported Thursday group sales rose to 11.56 billion Swiss francs ($ 12.38 billion), up from 11.03 billion francs in the first quarter of 2012.

Roche chief executive Severin Schwan credited what he called a strong start in 2013 to the launch of two new cancer drugs, Kadcyla in the United States and Perjeta in Europe. The company also said that there was strong demand for its ovarian cancer drug Avastin in Europe.

Roche, which reports its earnings only every six months, said group sales for 2013 are expected to grow in line with last year, which was 4 percent growth.

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Mindspeed sees Q3 total net product revenue flat vs. Q2

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Tesla shares up 19 pct. as company sees 1Q profit

DETROIT (AP) — Shares of electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc. jumped more than 19 percent Monday after the company said sales are running ahead of schedule and it will post a first-quarter net profit.

The Palo Alto, Calif., company said Sunday night that first-quarter sales have exceeded 4,750 Model S sedans, above prior guidance of 4,500. Previously the company said it would be slightly profitable in the first quarter, excluding noncash option and warrant expenses.

Shares of Tesla were up $ 7.35, or 19.4 percent, to $ 45.24 in morning trading Monday. Earlier in the session the shares hit a record high of $ 45.47.

“There have been many car startups over the past several decades, but profitability is what makes a company real,” Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk said in a statement. “Tesla is here to stay and keep fighting for the electric car revolution.”

Tesla, the brainchild of Musk, who founded PayPal and SpaceX, was selling two all-electric models last year, the $ 109,000 Roadster and the Model S, which starts at $ 49,900 after a federal tax credit. The Roadster was phased out as the Model S went on sale. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the Model S can travel about 265 miles on a single charge.

Tesla has lost money since sales of the Roadster began in 2008, and the company is banking on the cheaper Model S to expand its market. But it said production costs should fall as it produces more vehicles.

The company lost $ 396.2 million, or $ 3.69 per share, last year, compared with $ 254.4 million, or $ 2.53 per share, in 2011.

In February, Musk said his company plans to pay back a 10-year, $ 465 million U.S. Energy Department loan in half the time required by the government.

But last week he hinted that payment may be coming even sooner. He said on Twitter that he is “going to put my money where my mouth is” in a major way. An announcement of some sort is coming on Tuesday.

Jefferies analyst Elaine Kwei said in a note to investors Monday that she expects high levels of activity in Tesla stock due to speculation about Musk’s announcement Tuesday.

She told investors that after tweeting about the major announcement, Musk tweeted about rooftop solar and battery packs.

Tesla made its first loan payment of nearly $ 13 million in December. A second payment is due this month.

Tesla also said in a statement Sunday night that it’s dropping an option for a smaller, less-costly battery pack on the Model S because so few people have taken it. All cars will now come with a larger 60 kilowatt-hour battery pack. Those who choose the smaller battery pack will be limited to 40 kilowatt-hours by software, but the owners will be allowed to upgrade.

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China’s Focus Media sees 4Q profit miss Street

NEW YORK (AP) — Focus Media Holding Ltd., a flat-panel screen advertising network that operates in elevators and office buildings in China, said Monday that its fourth-quarter net profit more than doubled despite a slight revenue decline, as it didn’t repeat an investment loss from a year ago.

The adjusted earnings were below the expectations of analysts.

The company also set a special shareholders meeting on April 29 to vote on the plan it announced in December to be acquired by Giovanna Parent Ltd. for $ 27.50 per American depositary share and go private.

U.S.-listed shares fell 46 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $ 26.22 in after-hours trading, after gaining 53 cents, or 2 percent, to close at $ 26.68 in the regular session.

Net income in the three months to Dec. 31 came to $ 76.7 million, or 57 cents per ADS, compared to $ 37.1 million, or 27 cents per ADS.

A year earlier, the company booked a loss of $ 38.9 million due to its investment in VisionChina.

Excluding expenses for paying executives with stock and other items, earnings came to 71 cents per share, below the 75 cents expected by analysts polled by FactSet.

Revenue fell 1 percent to $ 250.2 million from $ 252.7 million a year ago. Analysts expected revenue of $ 249.1 million.

CEO Jason Jiang said the company’s results were in-line with its expectations but said the company continues to be affected by “slower overall advertising spending in China.”

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