Astra Zeneca maintains its 2014 full year dividend at $2.80

DividendMax Ltd.

Astra Zeneca maintains its 2014 full year dividend at $2.80

Financial results for 2014 in line with upgraded Company guidance given with third quarter 2014 results.

Full year revenue up 3% at constant exchange rates (CER) to $26,095m.

A change in accounting for the US Branded Pharmaceutical Fee reduced revenue by $113m;

excluding this effect growth was 4%.

Core EPS for the full year was $4.28, down 8%, following investment in the growth platforms and accelerated pipeline.

Fourth quarter revenue up 2% to $6,683m: fourth consecutive quarter of revenue growth.

Core EPS for the quarter was $0.76, down 28%.

Growth platforms up 15% in 2014, contributing 53% of total revenue.

Brilinta: +70%, continued global progress.

Diabetes: +139%, successful integration of BMS assets, strong Farxiga/Forxiga launch and good uptake of new Bydureon Pen in the US.

Respiratory: +10%, with Emerging Markets growth of 27% and decelerating US growth of 15%.

Emerging Markets: +12%, with China growth of 22%, making China AstraZeneca's second largest national market.

Japan: -3%, due to mandated price cuts, increased use of generics and Nexium recall in the fourth quarter.

A record six product approvals in 2014.

Pipeline progress since Q3 2014 results:

Duaklir Genuair: EU approval for COPD. Brodalumab2: superior to ustekinumab in second and third pivotal Phase III studies in psoriasis. Lesinurad: submission for gout treatment accepted in the EU.

Brilinta: PEGASUS study met its primary endpoints. Saxagliptin/dapagliflozin FDC: filed in the US.

Lynparza: US and EU approvals for advanced BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer. Iressa: NDA accepted.

Moventig: EU approval for opioid-induced constipation. Movantik: descheduled by the US DEA.

The Board has declared a second interim dividend of $1.90 per share, bringing the dividend for the full year to $2.80. The Board reaffirms its commitment to the Company's progressive dividend policy.

2015 Guidance: Sales revenue is expected to decline by mid single-digit percent at CER3. Consistent with its business model, the Company will continue to seek externalisation revenue from partnerships and licensing select products and technologies. Core EPS is expected to increase by low single-digit percent at CER.

2015 Newsflow:

Pivotal data: MEDI4736 3L NSCLC; tremelimumab mesothelioma; selumetinib uveal melanoma; PT003 COPD.

Filings: AZD9291 2L NSCLC; cediranib ovarian cancer (EU); brodalumab psoriasis.

Potential approval decisions: saxagliptin/dapagliflozin FDC; Iressa; lesinurad.

Dividends and share repurchases

The Board has recommended a second interim dividend of $1.90 (125.0 pence, 15.62 SEK) to be paid on 23 March 2015. This brings the full year dividend to $2.80 (178.1 pence, 21.82 SEK). This dividend is consistent with the progressive dividend policy, by which the Board intends to maintain or grow the dividend each year.

The Board regularly reviews its distribution policy and its overall financial strategy to continue to strike a balance between the interests of the business, financial creditors and shareholders. The Board continues to target a strong, investment grade credit rating. Having regard for business investment, funding the progressive dividend policy and meeting debt service obligations, the Board currently has no intention to resume the share buyback programme.

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