17 February 2000
Novartis hopes for growth after ag spin-off

NOVARTIS believes that the decision to spin off its agribusiness arm will pave the way for faster growth.

The Swiss pharmaceuticals group entered a joint venture in November with AstraZeneca to pool their agribusiness interests.

Novartis is expected to announce on Thursday (17 February) poor results for 1999.

Analysts estimate that the net profit will rise just 5.4% to SF6.39 billion ($3.92bn).