Roche has posted a slightly disappointing set of financials for 2008 and its shares have taken a bashing as investors wait to see whether its hostile bid to take full control of Genentech proves successful.

The Basel-based group said that net income fell 5% to 10.84 billion Swiss francs, while group sales dipped 1% to 45.62 billion. The pharmaceuticals division brought in 22.16 billion francs, a fall of 4%.

The decline in sales reflects the severe reduction in revenues from the influenza jab Tamiflu (oseltamivir) which fell back 68% to 609 million francs. The slump is due to most of the firm’s existing pandemic stockpiling orders have now been fulfilled.

Nevertheless, sales of the division’s oncology products were again impressive. MabThera/Rituxan (rituximab) for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma grew 16% to 5.9 billion francs, while Herceptin (trastuzumab) was up 12% to 5.1 billion francs.

Most impressive was the performance of Avastin (bevacizumab) which recorded an increase of 37% to 5.2 billion francs, while Tarceva (erlotinib) sales grew 23% to 1.2 billion francs. Xeloda (capecitabine) turnover was up 13% to 1.2 billion francs as well, boosted by strong growth in Japan (+74%).

The transplantation product CellCept (mycophenolate mofetil) rose 13% to 2.1 billion francs, while Roche’s hepatitis C treatment Pegasys (peginterferon alfa) was up 6% to 1.6 billion francs. The osteoporosis drug Boniva/Bonviva (ibandronic acid) put in a good showing, climbing 35% to 1.1 billion francs.

Combined sales of Roche’s NeoRecormon and its Chugai unit’s Epogin (epoetin beta), for anaemia, declined 13% to 1.8 billion francs, reflecting “an increasingly competitive, highly cost-sensitive market” that is contracting, the firm said. Revenues from recently-launched Mircera (methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta), for the treatment of symptomatic anaemia associated with chronic kidney disease, are “modest”, Roche added, noting that the treatment has now been launched in 56 countries so far.

Roche said that earnings this year will “remain at the high level of 2008 in spite of increased investments in R&D”, which disappointed some analysts. Chief executive Severin Schwan said that “in these times of economic upheaval it is more important than ever that we adhere rigorously to our strategy”, and a major part of that will be to get hold of the 44% stake in Genentech it does not own.

In July, Roche bid $43.7 billion but that offer was rejected by the US biotechnology giant so Roche went hostile last week, going straight to shareholders with a $42 billion offer. Dr Schwan described the new bid as a fair one, saying that his firm has “huge respect for huge respect for Genentech.”

He also noted that “there is “no Plan B,” adding that he assumes “most of the minority shareholders will tender their stock.” Investors do not seem so sure, however, and Roche shares ended the day down over 9% to 147.80 francs.