Among the raft of news for investors to digest in its fourth-quarter results announced Wednesday were a 2.75 Swiss franc ($2.75) dividend and an up-to $5 billion share buyback this year.
This as the Swiss pharmaceutical company failed to meet either top or bottom line expectations, held back above all by the negative effects of a strong dollar.
Core net income for the quarter fell 2 percent to $2.66 billion, underperforming average analyst expectations of $2.72 billion. Net sales dropped by the same percentage to $12.32 billion, although viewed on a constant currency basis, finished the three month period flat.
The company was hit by the well-flagged expiration of the patent on Gleevac, which led to a $2.4 billion drop in sales for the blockbuster cancer drug.
Admitting Novartis was going through a "tough time right now" due to the expiration, Jimenez nonetheless pointed out that new growth products fully offset that decline and the company expected to enter its next growth phase towards the end of 2017.
Despite delivering sales of $170 million - and therefore falling short of its internal $200 million target - Jimenez struck a bullish note on the outlook for Novartis's highly anticipated heart failure drug, Entresto, saying market access had improved and the field force had now been fully deployed.
The CEO also pointed to Cosentyx, a new psoriasis and auto-immune drug, as "one of the biggest growth drivers" for the company.