Roche profit slips on diagnostics writedown

Roche confirmed its full-year outlook on Thursday, but posted profit that missed expectations for the first half of the year following an impairment charge at its diagnostics business.

Net profit at the Swiss pharmaceuticals company came in at 5.64 billion Swiss francs ($6.25 billion) in the first half, below forecasts of 5.98 billion Swiss francs by analysts in a Reuters poll. It marked a 7 percent fall on the same period last year.

It came after an impairment charge of 414 million Swiss francs related to "intangible assets" at its tissue diagnostics business.

Despite this, CEO Severin Schwan told CNBC he was "very happy" with Roche's performance over the first six months of the year.

"Price pressure continues, governments are under enormous pressure in terms of their healthcare budgets, however we, as a company, are very well positioned due to the innovative nature of our portfolio, and as such we are less exposed to price pressure," he said.

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Sales of cancer medicines helped the company post sales that met expectations, albeit down on the same period last year.

Sales came in at 22.97 billion Swiss francs ($25.45 billion) in the first half of 2014, marking a fall of 1 percent in Swiss francs. In its pharma business, sales hit 17.8 billion Swiss francs.

As the rush a pharma mergers and acquisitions continues - with U.S. drugmaker AbbVie announcing a takeover of Dublin-based pharma company Shire in a deal worth around $54.7 billion last week - Schwan said he was open to large-scale tie-ups looking ahead.

"I'm very open for external innovation, and if we find the right opportunity that fits with our franchises, and the price is right, then we will seize those opportunities," he told CNBC. "If it creates value for our shareholders we will certainly look at such opportunities."

In a statement, Roche CEO Severin Schwan maintained the company's outlook for the full year.

"We had a good first half, driven mainly by our cancer medicines, especially the new breast cancer medicines, Perjeta and Kadcyla, as well as by Diagnostics," he said. "Based on our half year performance, I am confident that we will meet our full-year targets."

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The company also said that its product pipeline had made "significant progress" after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted "Breakthrough Therapy Designation" for its cancer immunotherapy candidate anti-PDL1.