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MarketScreener Homepage  >  Equities  >  Swiss Exchange  >  Roche Holding AG    ROG   CH0012032048


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Roche diagnostics business surges as COVID-19 infections rise

10/15/2020 | 06:59am EST
FILE PHOTO: Logo of Swiss drugmaker Roche is seen at its headquarters in Basel

ZURICH (Reuters) - Surging demand globally for COVID-19 tests boosted third quarter revenues at Swiss drug company Roche's diagnostics business, helping to offset declining drug sales and keeping the group on track to meet 2020 targets.

Roche diagnostics head Thomas Schinecker said rising coronavirus infections in many countries were driving a shift in demand towards cheaper antigen tests since so-called PCR tests, the pandemic mainstay, remain in short supply.

Though the less-accurate $5-6 antigen tests -- made by Roche, as well as rivals including Abbott Laboratories, Becton Dickinson and Siemens Healthineers -- identify fewer infected people than PCR tests, Schinecker said they were good enough for use in many situations.

"Since the world is still in shortages (of) PCR tests, we strongly believe the antigen tests are a significant contribution ... because you're going to identify most of the people that are actually spreading the infections," Schinecker said.

PCR tests detect genetic material in the virus while antigen tests detect proteins on the virus's surface, though both are meant to pick up active infections.

The United States, Germany and Britain are among countries ordering millions of these tests as they face a second COVID-19 wave.

Some experts have said PCR tests remain the gold standard and that less-accurate tests should be deployed when others are not available.

Third-quarter Roche diagnostics sales rose 18% to 3.6 billion Swiss francs ($4 billion).

Drugs revenue slipped 4% to 11.1 billion francs, with off-patent cancer medicines Avastin, Herceptin and Rituxan losing ground to rival products - known as biosimilars. Roche predicted competition from biosimilars would mean a 4.7 billion franc sales hit in 2020.

Roche shares fell 3.2% at 0915 GMT, as analysts said the drug sales figure missed expectations.

In China, continuing limits on people going to hospital for treatment during the pandemic have hit drug sales, Roche said, as its Asia sales fell 4% after they had risen some 50% last year.

Barclays analysts said this had scuttled Roche's plan to offset price cuts it made last year in the world's second-largest economy with higher volumes.

Roche confirmed its 2020 outlook for low- to mid-single-digit percentage sales growth, as Chief Executive Severin Schwan said a drugs-business recovery, driven by newer medicines including Ocrevus for multiple sclerosis and Hemlibra for haemophila, would augment an accelerating diagnostics boom.

"We expect this trend to continue," Schwan said.

(Reporting by John Miller; Editing by Michael Shields and Jane Merriman)

By John Miller

© Reuters 2020
Stocks mentioned in the article
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ABBOTT LABORATORIES 0.34% 107.9 Delayed Quote.24.22%
BARCLAYS PLC 0.04% 148.62 Delayed Quote.-17.27%
BECTON, DICKINSON AND COMPANY 1.78% 242.76 Delayed Quote.-10.74%
CREDIT SUISSE GROUP AG 1.33% 11.815 Delayed Quote.-9.84%
ROCHE HOLDING AG 0.85% 302.25 Delayed Quote.-3.74%
SIEMENS AG 1.23% 113.3 Delayed Quote.-2.78%
SIEMENS HEALTHINEERS AG 0.09% 39.775 Delayed Quote.-7.11%
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Sales 2020 59 919 M 67 133 M 67 133 M
Net income 2020 14 360 M 16 089 M 16 089 M
Net cash 2020 3 429 M 3 842 M 3 842 M
P/E ratio 2020 18,3x
Yield 2020 3,08%
Capitalization 259 B 290 B 290 B
EV / Sales 2020 4,26x
EV / Sales 2021 3,94x
Nbr of Employees 97 735
Free-Float 83,6%
Duration : Period :
Roche Holding AG Technical Analysis Chart | ROG | CH0012032048 | MarketScreener
Technical analysis trends ROCHE HOLDING AG
Short TermMid-TermLong Term
Income Statement Evolution
Mean consensus BUY
Number of Analysts 25
Average target price 372,02 CHF
Last Close Price 302,25 CHF
Spread / Highest target 44,3%
Spread / Average Target 23,1%
Spread / Lowest Target -5,71%
EPS Revisions
Severin Schwan Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director
Christoph Franz Chairman
Alan Hippe Chief Financial & Information Technology Officer
Paul Bulcke Non-Executive Director
André S. Hoffmann Vice Chairman
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