Germany’s Schering AG says it is expecting to see full-year 2004 net profits to rise by around 13% to 500 million euros, with earnings per share increasing by 14% to 2.61 euros, versus the previous year when currency effects dampened growth [[05/02/04c]].

According to preliminary 2004 figures, the firm says that, after accounting for continuing negative currency effects, sales rose by 2% to 4.9 billion euros, primarily as a result of strong performances from its top ten products. Amongst these, the oral contraceptive, Yasmin (ethinyl estradiol and drospirenone), rose 56% to 429 million euros, which Schering says makes it the world’s leading oral contraceptive. The company’s biggest-selling product, Betaferon/Betaseron (interferon beta-1b), for multiple sclerosis, rose 5% to 782 million euros.

Operating profit looks set to climb by 11% to 761 million euros as a result of a “significant rise” in operating performance, primarily due to improved cost structures as a result of the so-called FOCUS restructuring initiative [[19/04/04b]], [[15/06/04c]], and accompanying job cuts [[17/11/04b]]. Operating margin for the year was 15.5%, which the firm says means it is well on track to reach its goal of 18% by 2006.

For 2005, the firm expects organic sales growth to be in the mid-single digit range, with further increases in profitability.