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Tuesday, August 3, 1999 Published at 07:54 GMT 08:54 UK

Business: The Company File

AstraZeneca profits fall

AstraZeneca's healthcare side saw profits up

Newly-merged chemicals company AstraZeneca is to review its non-drug business after reporting a sharp drop in profits.

The company, which formed in April, made a pre-tax profit of $1.342bn (£0.83bn) in the first six months of 1999 - down from a calculated combined profit of $2.089bn (£1.3bn) for the same period last year.

The Anglo-Swedish business said its healthcare side performed well, but it was "reviewing its strategies" in other areas after a fall off in agrochemicals.

Agrochemicals sales were down 5%, while healthcare was up 16%.

Group sales rose to $9.043bn from $8.096bn.

Chief executive Tom McKillop said the company "has made an excellent start with strong sales and profit growth in healthcare.

"Integration is progressing well and we look forward to the future with great confidence."

AstraZeneca shares have dropped some 20% since the merger, not helped by concern over the imminent expiry of the company's patent on $5bn anti-ulcer drug Losec.

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