Novartis`s third-quarter core net income rose 4 percent at constant currencies, beating expectations, as the drugmaker said it had made "significant progress" in preparing its Alcon eyecare unit for a possible spinoff by the first half of 2019.
Core net income rose to $3.02 billion, compared to the average analyst estimate of $2.93 billion in a Reuters poll. Sales rose 2 percent to $12.4 billion, compared to the $12.2 billion Reuters poll average.
The Swiss group confirmed its full-year outlook.
On Alcon, where sales rose 7 percent in constant currencies, Novartis said on Tuesday a final decision on the unit`s future hinged on continued sales growth and margin improvement over multiple quarters, making potential action "not likely before the first half of 2019".
"The strategic review also indicates that creating a stand-alone company via a capital markets exit could create additional shareholder value," Novartis said in a statement.
"We have also made significant progress on developing a potential capital markets solution, including financial carve-outs, tax and legal entity structuring, and identifying listing and incorporation locations."
Psoriasis drug Cosentyx generated quarterly sales of $556 million, beating market estimates. Sales of heart drug Entresto more than doubled to $128 million but missed market expectations.
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