AstraZeneca names Dunoyer as CFO as drug sales and profits drop
AstraZeneca sales in the quarter slid by 6 per cent to $6.25 billion, weighed down by the loss of patent protection on several drugs – including, in some markets, its top-selling cholesterol fighter Crestor – while EPS tumbled 28 per cent.
AstraZeneca has promoted Marc Dunoyer to be its new chief financial officer, plugging a gap in the British drugmaker’s top management team as it grapples with falling sales and profits. Mr Dunoyer (61), who joined from GlaxoSmithKline in June and currently heads portfolio and product strategy, will replace well-respected finance chief Simon Lowth, who leaves to join BG Group.
Hit by generic competition in key drugs, sales and profits at AstraZeneca continued to slide in the third quarter, underscoring the challenge facing chief executive Pascal Soriot, who has been in the job for just over a year.
Mr Lowth has been viewed as a steady hand on AstraZeneca’s finances and the appointment of Mr Dunoyer, who lacks recent direct CFO responsibility, may concern some investors. “AstraZeneca’s heavy income-focused investor base will likely be concerned over the news of Mr Dunoyer’s appointment,” Citi analyst Andrew Baum said in a note.
“While a very talented and experienced industry executive, in our view, investors could fear increased risk to near-term EPS [earnings per share] and AstraZeneca’s flat dividend commitment through either increased internal investment or a greater propensity to M&A.”
Mr Dunoyer is a qualified accountant, but his most recent roles at GSK were as head of rare diseases and Japan. Mr Soriot told reporters that Mr Dunoyer offered a blend of strategic thinking and financial expertise, adding his appointment did not signal any change in dividend policy or acquisition strategy, which has so far focused on smaller deals.
Improving AstraZeneca’s record in drug research is Mr Soriot’s top priority, but he said in June that turning around the company would take three to four years.
It will also require investment in the science behind new medicines. AstraZeneca said it expected to spend more, with 2013 spending increasing at the upper end of its prior guidance range of a low-to-mid single digit percentage rise on 2012.
Sales in the quarter slid by 6 per cent to $6.25 billion, weighed down by the loss of patent protection on several drugs – including, in some markets, its top-selling cholesterol fighter Crestor – while EPS tumbled 28 per cent.Overall revenue in emerging markets was up 5 per cent and AstraZeneca said it expected a high single-digit revenue increase in emerging markets for the full year. – (Reuters)