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Novartis Profits Rise 12 Percent

August 21, 2000

BASEL, Switzerland (AP) _ Pharmaceutical giant Novartis AG’s first-half net profit rose by 12 percent on strong sales of its hypertension and osteoporosis drugs.

The company reported Monday that it earned $2.46 billion in the first half of 2000, up from $2.45 billion in the same period last year. The company, which makes pharmaceuticals, CIBA Vision contact lenses and Gerber baby food, said sales rose 15 percent to $11.1 billion.

Novartis said it expects net income for the year to exceed’s its 1999 earnings of $4.11 billion.

The company’s fastest selling drugs in the first half of the year were Diovan and Lotrel, both for hypertension, Miacalcic for osteoporosis and Foradil for asthma.

Following last month’s conditional approval by the European Union, Novartis said it is on track to spin off its agribusiness division and merge it with that of AstraZeneca PLC in the fourth quarter.

Shareholder approval for the spin-off and merger, forming a Basel-based company to be known as Syngenta, will be sought at a special general meeting Oct. 11, it said.

On Monday, shares of Novartis fell 6.3 cents to close at $38.625 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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