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Tuesday, October 27, 1998 Published at 14:52 GMT

Business: The Company File

Zeneca warns over pound's strength

Zeneca produced a mixed bag of results

Chemicals and pharmaceuticals group Zeneca says the strong pound will wipe about £130m off its full year profits, despite strong sales growth by its pharmaceuticals sector in the US and Europe.

The estimate of the pound's damage to profits was revised upwards from Zeneca's half year trading statement which put the damage at £110m.

[ image: The strength of sterling is hitting profits]
The strength of sterling is hitting profits
The announcement accompanied a nine-month trading statement which showed mixed fortunes at its various divisions.

Total group sales for the nine months to September 30 reached £4.15bn, up from £3.95bn for the same period last year.

While pharmaceutical sales were up 9%, buoyed by particularly strong growth in volumes in the US, sales of agrochemicals were up just 5% and sales at the Zeneca specialities division were down 6%.

The group said that sales over the full second half of the year were expected to be in line with the first six months.

The stock market took a negative view of the statement and Zeneca's shares fell almost 5% during morning trade.

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