AstraZeneca beats profit forecasts and raises its revenue outlook, but reports emerge of new corruption allegations against GlaxoSmithKline. David Pollard reports.
AstraZeneca chief Pascal Soriot fought off a 118 billion dollar takeover bid by Pfizer last year. He's keen to show the pharma's better off alone. And says the latest results are ''robust''. Quarterly sales totalled 6.3 billion dollars. That's down seven per cent - but still better than expected. It says income from selling rights to medicines is offsetting generic competition and a strong dollar. And is pinning its pipeline hopes on two new cancer drugs. Consolidation, though, could still beckon. City Index Research Director Kathleen Brooks. (SOUNDBITE) (English) KATHLEEN BROOKS, RESEARCH DIRECTOR, CITY INDEX, SAYING: ''AstraZeneca for example can survive on their own, but for how long we don't know, and there will come a time when shareholders will pressure them to accept another offer if there is another one waiting in the wings.'' Rival GlaxoSmithKline sold its cancer drugs to Novartis in exchange for the Swiss group's vaccines. On Wednesday, it posted quarterly sales of 5.9 billion pounds - slightly above expectations. But new bribery allegations are reportedly emerging - this time in Romania. Last year, GSK was fined nearly half a billion dollars for corruption in China. Those problems receding - for now, says BGC Partners' Mike Ingram. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MIKE INGRAM, MARKET STRATEGIST, BGC PARTNERS, SAYING: ''In as much as there is perhaps a political dimension to what's happened with GSK and other companies over the last few years, if you have a weak and volatile domestic economy, you may well see further Western companies put on trial.'' GSK's long-term hopes are pinned on a new research pipeline. A showcase event planned in New York in November - which it promises will be a ''key moment'' for GSK.