Roche Stock Falls 2% as Company Releases First-Half Sales Figures

UTC by Tolu Ajiboye · 3 min read
Roche Stock Falls 2% as Company Releases First-Half Sales Figures
André Hoffmann, Hoffmann-La Roche Vice-Chairman. Photo: Roche / Facebook

Roche has announced that it gained 1% in the sales in the first half of the year, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which plunged the company’s performance.

Roche Holding AG (SWX: RO) reported a 1% increase in first-half sales, caused by a reduction in second-quarter sales. The reduction was largely because of the persisting coronavirus pandemic.

Despite the hit, the company’s stock still has a 5.14% increase in its three-month performance. In the second quarter of 2020, the Swiss multinational health company experienced its biggest loss in May with a 15% fall in sales. However, sales are gradually recovering, enabling Roche to hold on to its outlook for the year.

After Roche published its first-half sales figures, RO stock lost 2.21% to trade at 327.20 CHF.

Roche Reports Sales for First Half of 2020

The Pharmaceutical Division of Roche Holding AG suffered from the recently eased lockdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic which has a serious impact on first-half sales results. The lockdown harmed the sales of some of the Roche medicines in the first half, including Ocrevus for multiple sclerosis, Lucentis, Hemlibra, and MabThera.

However, the Swiss drugmaker gained 37% over the last year in sales of some key medicines. The major medicines that added to the company’s growth were the cancer medicine Tecentriq, Actemra/RoActemra used for immunology, and Perjeta for breast cancer. In total, the medicines sold CHF 8.9 billion, which is over 9 billion US dollars.

In the U.S., sales of cancer medicine Tecentriq jumped by 52% while Hemlibra gained 80%. There was also an increase in the demand of some medicines in Europe while there were lower sales for others. Sales for Ocrevus, Hemlibra, Kadcyla, and a few others grew by 5% while sales of others like Herceptin and MabThera/Rituxan reduced. Herceptin fell by 33%, while MabThera/Rituxan declined by 34%.

Roche’s Diagnostic Unit Sales

On 13th March, Roche announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave emergency approval for its COVID-19 test. According to the company, the results of tested patients will be available in less than four hours. In addition, the largest machines are able to provide over 4,000 results in a day.

Although Roche’s diagnostic unit benefited from its operation of conducting tests for coronavirus molecules and antibodies, the pandemic also affected the division. The Diagnostic Division recorded an increase of 3% in sales as the COVID-19 testing played a major role in increasing sales. Also, routine testing by the diagnostic unit reduced as the lockdown prevented people from visiting physicians. According to CEO Severin Schwan, routine testing “reduced significantly.”

Speaking on the Roche’s performance for the first half of the year, Schwan said:

“…we have been able to make a number of SARS-CoV-2 tests available and start several global Actemra/RoActemra phase III studies in COVID-10 pneumonia. At the same time, Roche’s regular business was significantly impacted by the pandemic in the second quarter. But we now see clear signs of recovery.”

In the second quarter of 2020, Swiss sales fell 9.6% 14.1 billion Swiss francs which equals $15.20 billion. According to Schwan, the health crisis “continues to pose an enormous challenge worldwide.” 

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