Novartis Q4 net profit rises to $2.0 billion

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GENEVA (AP) — Swiss drug maker Novartis AG has reported a 2 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit, helped by delays in generic competition to its blockbuster drugs.

The Basel, Switzerland-based company said Wednesday it had a net profit of $2.029 billion attributable to shareholders in the final three months of 2013, up from a restated $1.985 billion in the same period the previous year.

Chief Executive Joseph Jimenez said Novartis delivered a strong performance in 2013, growing both net sales and core operating income in constant currencies while absorbing patent expirations.

Full-year net profit fell 1 percent to $9.175 billion attributable to shareholders, down from $9.27 billion in 2012.

The company confirmed its outlook for 2014 sales growth is in the low to mid-single digits.

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