Strong Swiss franc dents earnings at drug maker Roche

GENEVA – Pharmaceuticals company Roche says a strong Swiss franc weighed on its earnings last year and contributed to a 5 per cent drop in net income, which fell short of analysts’ estimates.

The Basel-based maker of Avastin and other cancer treatments reported Thursday that net income declined to 9.06 billion Swiss francs ($8.92 billion), from 9.54 billion in 2014, though income was up 4 per cent after accounting for currency fluctuations. According to FactSet, analysts expected net income at 10.57 billion francs.

CEO Severin Schwan hailed a “successful” year and pointed to progress in Roche Holdings AG’s product pipeline and “important clinical data” in areas including cancer, multiple sclerosis, immune and blood diseases.

Sales rose 5 per cent to 48.1 billion francs, largely behind U.S. pharmaceutical sales and strong demand for immunodiagnostic products.