Olivia Pratt
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Novartis profit falls on declining sales

Novartis AG on Tuesday reported a 26.5% drop in fourth-quarter profit as declining sales weighted on the Swiss drug company's performance.

Basel-based Novartis reported net profit attributable to shareholders of $1.49 billion, compared with $2.03 billion in the same quarter a year earlier.

The company reported sales of $14.63 billion, missing analysts' forecasts of $14.68 billion.

Novartis said sales would grow by a mid-single digit percentage this year, as measured in constant currency, which strips out the effect of foreign-exchange rate fluctuations. Core operating income, which excludes one-off items, will likely grow ahead of sales at a high-single digit rate, it said.