Germany’s Schering AG received a welcome boost yesterday after it said that preliminary figures suggested that its earnings for the full-year 2004 were “well above” previous estimates. The firm now expects earnings per share to be around 2.60 euros – almost 11% up on the previous 2.35 euro-per-share forecast.

The company explained that the higher earnings come as a result of an improved operating profit as well as positive one-time effects, in particular with regard to income taxes.

“We are well on our way to reaching our goal of an operating margin of 18% by 2006,” said Dr Jörg Spiekerkötter, executive board member responsible for finance and personnel. Last year, the company launched a dramatic restructuring plan, known as the FOCUS-Initiative, with the key aim of boosting its operating profit margin to 18% of sales by 2006 [[19/04/04b]], [[15/06/04c]]. Plans included establishing a new business focusing on oncology and spinning off its dermatology business. The move has also seen a series of job cuts as the firm streamlines its efforts [[17/11/04b]].

Schering will publish its full financial results for 2004 on February 9.