27 August 1999
Novartis shares fall on GM worries
SHARES in Novartis dropped 3% yesterday as analysts focused on problems with the Swiss life science companys agribusiness.
Novartis, a prime mover in genetically modified crops, has changed the divisions management and expects to save SFr100 million a year by shedding more than 1000 jobs.
But it has admitted that it does not expect to see much improvement this year and there is speculation the company could withdraw from the business.
Operating income at a group level dropped 4% to SFr3.9bn £1.6bn) for the first six months of the year, on sales up 1% to SFr16.3bn.
Operating margins slipped from 25% to 23.8% and Novartis reported lower agribusiness profits and poor pharmaceutical sales.