Gains from deals boost net at Swiss pharma firm Novartis; strong dollar shrinks earnings

Swiss-based pharmaceutical company Novartis has reported a large jump in first-quarter net profit as it recorded gains from deals with other drug companies.

Net profit rose to $13.005 billion from $2.968 billion in the year-ago quarter. Profit was boosted by a $10.8 billion gain from transactions with GlaxoSmithKline PLC and Eli Lilly and Co.

Novartis sold its animal health business to Lilly. It also acquired cancer products from GSK and divested its non-flu vaccines business, while Novartis and GSK combined their consumer health care businesses.

Disregarding those transactions, the company saw sales and earnings fall due to a strong dollar, which shrinks earnings in other currencies. Net sales fell 7 percent to $11.935 billion; profit fell 6 percent in dollar terms to $2.306 billion.