Astra in agreement with schering-plough

® ® ASTRA IN AGREEMENT WITH SCHERING-PLOUGH TO REACQUIRE LOSEC AND PERFUDAL ® /PREVEX RIGHTS IN ITALY AND SPAIN Astra AB and Schering-Plough Corporation today announced an agreement whereby rights held by Schering-Plough's subsidiary, Essex Chemie, to market Losec (omeprazole), an anti-peptic ulcer drug, and Perfudal/Prevex (felodipine), a calcium antagonist for hypertension, in Italy and Spain are returned to Astra in exchange for payments and revenues based on sales. Under the agreement, which begins January 1, 1999, payments will be made by Astra to Essex Chemie over at least the next five years. Further details of the transaction are not being disclosed. "The new agreement with Schering-Plough has great significance for Astra, in terms of profitability as well as strategically," said Håkan Mogren, Astra's President and CEO. "Through this agreement we gain full control over the Losec franchise in two of Europe's largest pharmaceutical markets. The reacquisition of the marketing and trademark rights to Losec in both Italy and Spain is an important element in Astra's work on maintaining and further developing its market-leading position in the gastrointestinal area." "We are very pleased with this agreement, which will benefit Schering-Plough's earnings by providing an income stream over the next several years," said Richard Jay Kogan, Schering-Plough Chairman and CEO. He added that the transaction will be accretive to earnings. At the same time, he reiterated his previously made projection: "Assuming no unforeseen developments, Schering- Plough expects to turn in another good year of earnings growth in 1998, with earnings per share expected to be higher by about 20 percent." Under a 1984 agreement, Schering-Plough had marketing rights to Astra's products in Italy and Spain under Astra's trademarks. This agreement was renegotiated in 1993, and Astra recovered the rights to all Astra products, except omeprazole, under Astra's Losec trademark, and except the antihypertensive agent felodipine under Schering-Plough's Perfudal/Prevex trademarks. Since 1993, Astra has been marketing products containing these compounds in Italy and Spain in parallel with Schering-Plough under the ® ® ® trademarks Antra /Mopral and Plendil , respectively. In 1997, Schering- Plough recorded Losec sales of USD 202 million and Perfudal/Prevex sales of USD 14 million. Astra is an international pharmaceutical company, based in Sweden, with operations in some 45 countries. The company, a leader in the development of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, respiratory and pain control products with 1997 revenues of USD 5.7 billion, has been one of the fastest-growing pharmaceutical companies over the past decade. Schering-Plough, based in Madison, N.J., is a research-based company engaged in the discovery, development, manufacturing and marketing of pharmaceutical and health care products worldwide. Schering-Plough forward-looking statement: The information in this press release includes certain forward-looking information relating to expectations of business prospects and earnings performance. Due to market factors and global economic trends, among other things, the forward-looking statements contained in this press release are subject to risks and uncertainties, which may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in the forward- looking statements. For further details and a discussion of these and other risks and uncertainties, see the company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including Exhibit 99 of the company's 1997 annual report on Form 10- K. Astra forward-looking statement: This press release contains "forward-looking statements," as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. No forward-looking statements can be guaranteed and actual results may differ materially from those indicated as a result of various important factors. Additional, detailed information concerning certain such factors and other risks are set forth in Astra's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its annual report on Form 20-F for the fiscal year ended December 31, 1997. A copy of Astra's Form 20-F is available upon request to Astra's Office of Investor Relations. Contact persons: Staffan Ternby, Vice President, PR & Information, Astra AB, +46 8 553 261 07 Mikael Widell, Press Officer, PR & Information, Astra AB, +46 8 553 264 28 Michael Olsson, Manager, Investor Relations, Astra AB, +46 8 553 259 52 Jörgen Winroth, Investor Relations U.S., Astra AB, + 1 609 896 4148 ------------------------------------------------------------ Please visit for further information The following files are available for download: