Profit surge for AstraZeneca

Anglo-Swedish drugs giant AstraZeneca said on Thursday that its pre-tax profit in 2005 rose 34 percent compared with 2004 to reach 6.67 billion dollars (5.53 billion euros).

Sales were up 10 percent compared with the previous year at 23.95 billion dollars when adjusted for currency effects, the group said.

The results were slightly below analysts’ expectations and shares in the company fell in late morning trade.

At 11.11 GMT, the price of shares in AstraZeneca was showing a loss of 44 pence at 2,690 pence. Before publication of the figures, the shares had shown a loss of 37 pence at 2,697 pence.