10/22/2012 7:22:00 AM
AstraZeneca's new chief executive Pascal Soriot will unveil his first set of figures when the drugs giant updates the market on Thursday. Mr Soriot started at the beginning of October, replacing David Brennan, who quit after a shareholder rebellion over pay and performance earlier this year. While he is expected to take a back seat at the third quarter update, the former Roche pharmaceuticals boss has already started to make his mark at the group ahead of announcing his strategy plans in the new year. He suspended its share buy-back programme and announced his first major deal, buying the rights to experimental kidney drugs for up to 272.5 million US dollars (£169m). But he joins at a difficult time for Astra, which has been suffering from plunging sales and profits as competition from cheaper generic drugs and challenging market conditions take their toll. The group, which employs more than 6,000 staff at sites in Macclesfield and Alderley Park, Cheshire, saw its half-year profits slumped by a quarter after a 16 per cent slide in sales in the six months to June 30. There was some recent welcome cheer from the embattled group after it said a multimillion pound marketing rights deal would boost full-year figures.
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