AstraZeneca expects sales to accelerate in 2022

AstraZeneca said on Thursday it expects sales to pick up in 2022 and raised its annual dividend for the first time in a decade after reporting a better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit.

The British pharmaceutical group, which benefited in particular last year from demand for its antibody treatment against COVID-19, nevertheless warned that this demand should slow down this year.

Sales of products related to COVID-19 should therefore decline between 20% and 25% in 2022 and their margins should be lower than the group's average margin.

The expected decline in sales of COVID-19 vaccines should be partly offset by growth in sales of the Evusheld antibody treatment to treat the disease, AstraZeneca said.

The British-Swedish drugmaker expects its revenue to grow in the range of 15% and 19% in 2019 and its profit to grow in the range of 25% and 29%.

In 2021, revenue jumped 38% to $37.42 billion (€32.74 billion) at constant currency, with sales of $3.9 billion for the COVID-19 vaccine.

On the London Stock Exchange, AstraZeneca shares gained more than 2.5% at midday, investors being reassured about forecasts for 2022.

The group also said it would increase its annual dividend by 10 cents to $2.90, the first year-on-year increase in a decade.

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