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Roche sales beat forecasts, confirms outlook

Roche will not consider launching a "mega-merger" in the pharmaceutical sector and instead focus on targeted opportunities to grow, chief executive Severin Schwan told CNBC as the company reported better-than-expected third-quarter sales of 11.78 billion Swiss francs ($12.29 billion) Thursday.

"We are screening the market for very targeted opportunities where we can build our existing franchises be it in diagnostics or pharma or technologies or products. but we are not into mega-mergers, we have a very targeted approach," Schwan told CNBC.

Shares of Roche rose 1.95 percent in early morning trade on Thursday.

The above-expectation third-quarter result come towards the end of a mixed year for the company. Reporting its half-year results in July, Roche posted group sales of 22.94 billion Swiss francs ($24.39 billion) but the strength of the Swiss currency against the U.S. dollar, along with a number of Latin American currencies and the Japanese yen meant that this equated to a 1 percent decline from the first half of the previous year

However, it reported a strong uptake of its new oncology drugs. The company confirmed guidance for low-to-mid single-digits sales growth this year.

As the Ebola outbreak in west Africa continues to cause widespread concern among authorities worldwide, Schwan said the company had provided a diagnostics test kit to authorities to fight the disease. However, he was reluctant to be drawn on whether the pharmaceutical industry was near to a cure for the virus.

"I would be very careful to speculate whether we will be successful as an industry and by when we will have better treatments available to really fight this disease in a meaningful way."