AstraZenecaAstraZeneca Plc has posted satisfactory performance during the year ended December 2008 on account of significant growth in emerging market. The company's net profit improved by 8.9 per cent to US$ 6130 million from $5,627 million in the previous year. Its revenues increased by 6.9 per cent to $31,601 million from 29,559 million. With better growth in profits, its earning per share improved to $4.20 from $3.74 in the preceding year.

David Brennan, CEO, said, "AstraZeneca has delivered a robust performance in an increasingly challenging market environment. I am particularly pleased with our continued success in globalising our business, as shown by our strong performance in emerging markets. We are also making good headway in further improving the efficiency of our organisation. The expansion in the scope of our restructuring efforts is another important step towards sustaining our long-term competitiveness."

The company's sales in US increased by 2 per cent to $14785 million from $14,511 million. Its sales in Western Europe improved by 7 per cent to $9,743 million from $9,115 million and that in Japan increased by 18 per cent to $1,957 million from $1,661 million. Sales in China went up sharply by 43 per cent to $627 million from $437 million in the previous year.

The company's 11 products notched sales of more than $1 billion during 2008 as against 10 in the last year. The sales of Nexium remained under pressure and declined slightly to $5,200 million from $5,216 million. The sales of Crestor moved up by 29 per cent to $3,597 million from $2796 million. Seroquel sales reached at $4,452 million as against $ 4,027 million in 2007.

The R&D expenditure remained almost at same level at $5,179 million during 2008. The AstraZeneca pipeline e now includes 144 projects, including 98 projects in the clinicl phase of development. There are 10 projects currently in late stage development, either in phase III or under regulatory review. Across the portfolio, 44 projects have successfully progressed to their next phase; 32 compounds have ben added from discovery research' 10 compounds have been withdrawn.

The company aims to grow Core earnings per share on a constant currency basis. Core EPS guidance has been based on January 2009 average exchange rates. The target for Core EPS is in the range of $5.15 to $5.45. Actual performance within this range is dependent on the extent of the impact of the downside pressures from the global economy. For 2009, the company expects revenues to be in line with 2008 levels.