Roche has posted a fairly solid set of figures for 2009 this morning, with turnover rising 8%, though earnings took a tumble as a result of the Genenetech buy-out.

Net income fell 22% to 8.51 billion Swiss francs (about $8.06 billion), due to exceptional items relating to the Genentech transaction and integration. while group sales reached 49.05 billion francs. Turnover at the Swiss major’s pharmaceuticals division reached 39.00 billion francs, a rise of 8%.

The oncology franchise drove growth again, with Avastin (bevacizumab) recording an increase of 21% to 6.22 billion francs, while MabThera/Rituxan (rituximab) grew 6% to 6.09 billion francs. Herceptin (trastuzumab) was up 8% to 5.27 billion francs, while Tarceva (erlotinib) sales grew 10% to 1.30 billion francs. Xeloda (capecitabine) turnover was up 11% to 326 million francs.

The most striking performance, however, came from the influenza jab Tamiflu (oseltamivir), sales of which leapt 435% to 3.20 billion francs, due to the rapid worldwide spread of swine flu. However as there seem to be signs that the pandemic is not as strong as was first feared, Roche now expects 2010 sales of Tamiflu to fall back to 1.2 billion francs.

Of Roche’s other products, sales in the USA of Lucentis (ranibizumab), for wet age-related macular degeneration, increased 24% to 1.20 billion francs, while the hepatitis C treatment Pegasys (peginterferon alfa) was up 5% to 1.66 billion francs. On the negative side, the transplantation product CellCept (mycophenolate mofetil) fell 22% to 1.58 billion francs, while combined sales of Roche’s NeoRecormon and its Chugai unit’s Epogin (epoetin beta), for anaemia, declined 11% to 1.56 billion francs.

Chief executive Severin Schwan said that “in a turbulent external environment, Roche performed extraordinarily well”, adding that sales by both pharma and diagnostics (up 4% to 10.06 billion francs) grew twice as fast as their respective markets. He noted that the group’s pipeline now comprises 10 new molecular entities in late-stage development “which is remarkable by any standards in our industry”, though Roche expects R&D expenditures to decline slightly this year.

The Basel-headquartered company said that over the next 12-18 months, it expects to file marketing applications for “several major line extensions of our key cancer medicines”, including Avastin, MabThera/Rituxan and Xeloda, as well as for taspoglutide for type 2 diabetes. Roche also expects to repay 25% of the debt raised to finance the Genentech transaction by the end of 2010.

For all Roche’s enthusiasm, analysts were a little disappointed with the company’s oncology sales and its share price was down 1.6% at 9.50am (UK time) at 177.70 francs.