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Swiss pharmaceuticals group Roche reported sales for last year just below analysts’ forecasts and gave little further detail on when it will release widely-watched clinical data for its breast cancer drug Perjeta.

Sales rose 5 per cent to SFr50.576bn ($51.03bn), lower than the SFr50.7bn expected by analysts. Core operating profit increased by the same amount to SFr18.42bn. Adjusted for currency fluctuations, sales were up 4 per cent.

Roche reported a 5 per cent increase in revenue to SFr39.103bn at its pharmaceuticals division — accounting for almost 80 per cent of sales — while revenue at the company’s diagnostics business rose 6 per cent SFr11.473bn.

Core earnings per share were SFr14.53, below the SFr14.73 expected by analysts.The company said it would increase dividends to SFr8.20.

The Basel-based company said sales are likely to grow by “low to mid single digits” in 2017 as it awaits the outcome of trials for its new breast cancer drug Perjeta in the first quarter. Roche is also waiting on two other important products in its pipeline: Ocrevus, to treat multiple sclerosis and Tecentriq, for bladder and lung cancer.

Severin Schwan, chief executive, said:

We brought four new medicines to market in less than a year, including our first cancer immunotherapy Tecentriq. In Diagnostics, we launched an immunodiagnostic instrument, the cobas e 801, which represents a major step forward in realising the connected laboratory. We again look forward to a number of important clinical read- outs and regulatory milestones for Roche medicines this year, reflecting our broad and innovative product pipeline.

Analysts at JP Morgan have said a positive readout from the Perjeta trial known as Aphinity could lift the share price by as much as 10 per cent.

Shares in the group gained 0.2 per cent during January.

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