AstraZeneca Full-Year and Q4 2018 Results

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AstraZeneca PLC 

14 February 2019 07:00 GMT 


Full-year and Q4 2018 results 

New launches and commercial execution deliver full-year sales growth and a very strong final quarter. 

2019 anticipated to be a year of higher year-on-year sales growth combined with operating leverage. 


The final quarter of the year saw a very strong performance, including Product Sales growth of 5% (8% at CER1) to $5,768m. In the year, Product Sales increased by 4% to $21,049m, reflecting the performance of new medicines2 (+81%) and the sustained strength of Emerging Markets (+12%, +13% at CER); China sales increased by 28% (25% at CER) in the year. Oncology sales increased by 50% (49% at CER) in FY 2018, with Tagrisso and Lynparza each doubling in sales, accompanied by a promising performance from ImfinziFasenra sales reached $297m in its first full year, performing exceptionally well in the countries where it was launched. 


In addition, Earnings Per Share (EPS) benefited from a low tax rate. The pipeline produced further positive developments and 2019 is expected to be another busy year for news flow. 


     FY 2018  Q4 2018 
$m  % change  $m  % change 
Actual  CER  Actual  CER 
Product Sales  21,049  4  4  5,768  5  8 
Externalisation Revenue  1,041  (55)  (55)  649  n/m  n/m 
Total Revenue  22,090  (2)  (2)  6,417  11  14 
Reported Operating Profit3  3,387  (8)  (7)  1,077  57  54 
Core Operating Profit4  5,672  (17)  (17)  2,192  23  23 
Reported Earnings Per Share (EPS)  $1.70  (28)  (29)  $0.82  (21)  (22) 
Core EPS  $3.46  (19)  (19)  $1.58  22  22 


Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer, commenting on the results said: 

"Closing the year with another strong quarter, our performance confirmed that AstraZeneca has returned to growth. Our new medicines performed particularly well across the therapy areas and the Emerging Markets business went from strength to strength. 2019 will be a year of focus on continued pipeline delivery and flawless commercial execution. The performance of our new medicines demonstrated the ability of our commercial teams to convert the pipeline into successful medicines. 


As we recently entered a new phase in our strategic development, we have refined our organisation to position ourselves for the next phase of our journey. The changes are designed to further integrate research and development and accelerate decision-making and the launches of new medicines, consolidating what we believe is already one of the most exciting and productive pipelines in the industry. We are also enhancing our commercial units to increase collaboration with our R&D organisation, enabling greater commitment to our main therapy areas; we want AstraZeneca to be more agile, collaborative and focused as we enter a period of sustained growth. 


Our strategy and plans remain unchanged, with sales growth and a focus on cost management anticipated to drive growing operating profit. I'm pleased that we are fully on track to meet these commitments as we build a sustainable level of growth and a pipeline that is benefitting more and more patients around the world." 


Financial summary 

- Product Sales increased by 4% in the year to $21,049m; new medicines generated incremental sales of $2.8bn at CER. Total Revenue declined by 2% in the year to $22,090m, driven by a 55% decline in Externalisation Revenue to $1,041m, with the year-on-year performance partly reflecting the impact of $997m of Initial Externalisation Revenue recognised in FY 2017 as part of the Lynparza collaboration with MSD5 


- The Reported Gross Margin declined by three percentage points to 77% in the year, partly reflecting restructuring charges associated with biologic-medicine manufacturing facilities, the comparative effect of manufacturing variances in the first half of 2017 and the impact of the Lynparza collaboration with MSD; the Core Gross Margin declined by two percentage points to 80% 


- Total Reported Operating Expenses of $16,294m were stable in the year (a decline of 1% at CER). Total Core Operating Expenses increased by 5% (4% at CER) to $14,248m: 


- Reported R&D Expenses, which increased by 3% in the year to $5,932m, contained Intangible Asset Impairment charges of $539m (FY 2017: $101m), including a $470m charge in respect of MEDI0680. Core R&D Expenses declined by 3% to $5,266m, driven by efficiency savings and resource optimisation 


- Reported SG&A Expenses declined by 2% in the year (3% at CER) to $10,031m; Core SG&A Expenses increased by 10% (9% at CER) to $8,651m, reflecting support for new medicines and growth in China 


- Reported Other Operating Income and Expense increased by 38% to $2,527m, reflecting divestment transactions, while Core Other Operating Income and Expense increased by 10% in the year to $2,147m. The difference between the Reported and Core performances was represented by a legal settlement in the first half of the year 


- As indicated, restructuring expenses declined to $697m in the year (FY 2017: $807m). Designed to drive further efficiencies in the operations network, the Company recently decided to close two biologic-medicine manufacturing sites in Colorado, US. Associated with the closures, the Company expects to incur $0.4bn of one-time restructuring charges, the majority of which would be non-cash expenses; $0.3bn of these charges were recognised in FY 2018 as a result of impairments of site-related assets and inventory 


- As indicated, capital expenditure declined to $1,043m (FY 2017: $1,326m) 


- Reported EPS of $1.70 in the year represented a decline of 28% (29% at CER). Both Reported and Core EPS were impacted primarily by a decline in Externalisation Revenue, as well as the Gross Margin 


- Core EPS declined by 19% to $3.46, despite a favourable impact resulting from a lower Core Tax Rate of 11% reflecting a $245m favourable adjustment to deferred taxes arising from the recently-announced reduction in the Dutch corporate income-tax rate; enacted in December 2018, it equated to $0.19 per share. Milestone revenue of $70m from MSD that related to the rapid regulatory approval in the US of Lynparza as a 1st-line maintenance treatment for BRCA-mutated (BRCAm) advanced ovarian cancer was received earlier than anticipated 


- The Board has reaffirmed its commitment to the progressive dividend policy; a second interim dividend of $1.90 per share has been declared post year end, taking the unchanged full-year dividend per share to $2.80 

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