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Roche looks to emerging markets for growth

Emerging markets still offer room for growth, the chief executive of Roche told CNBC on Thursday after the Swiss pharmaceutical group posted an 8 percent increase in third-quarter sales.

Severin Schwan said he was "very pleased" with the performance of the group over the last nine months after the group's sales increase was helped by growing momentum of its new breast cancer drugs.

"A big contribution of the increase is due to emerging markets as we penetrate the markets with our medicines," he told CNBC Europe's "Squawk Box". He added that penetration rates in some emerging markets were still relatively low and these offered further potential.

Roche -- the world's largest maker of cancer drugs -- confirmed its forecast of rising sales and profit for this year after quarterly sales rose to 11.57 billion Swiss francs ($12.63 billion), compared with the average analyst forecast of 11.54 billion francs in a Reuters poll.

Speaking to CNBC from Basel, Switzerland, where the company is based, Schwan said the company was "also extending our portfolio in important areas" and had numerous products in the pipeline.

"We have a strong position in oncology and we will continue to develop important and innovative medicines in this area. However, we are also active in neuroscience and inflamation," he said.

He would not comment on rumors that Roche and fellow Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company Novartis could merge but said in broader terms, Roche did not like "mega mergers."

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