Rising profits for AstraZeneca

Anglo-Swedish drugs giant AstraZeneca announced on Thursday that the company's pre-tax profit stood at $1.743 billion during the third quarter of 2005, up 23 percent from the equivalent figure last year and better than analysts' forecasts.

The pre-tax figure compared with $1.419 billion in the third quarter of 2004. Group sales meanwhile jumped by 10 percent $5.789 billion during the three months to the end of September.

Analysts’ consensus forecasts had been for pre-tax profit of $1.73 billion and sales of 5.7 billion.