Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS) Q1 2019 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

Apr 24, 2019 • 08:00 am ET

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Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS) Q1 2019 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

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Presentation
Operator
Operator

Good morning, good afternoon, and welcome to the Novartis Q1 2019 Results Release Conference Call and Live Audio Webcast. (Operator Instructions) And the conference is being recorded. (Operator Instructions) A recording of the conference call, including the Q&A session, will be available on our website shortly after the call ends. (Operator Instructions) With that, I would like to hand over to Mr. Samir Shah, Global Head of Investor Relations. Please go ahead, sir.

Executive
Samir Shah

Good afternoon, and good morning, everybody, and thank you for participating in the webcast today. Before we start, I just wanted to read you the safe harbor statement. The information presented today contains forward-looking statements that involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors. These may cause actual results to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such statements. Please refer to the company's Form 20-F on file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for a description of some of these factors.

And just one other additional point for you for today. If I could please request that you limit yourself to two questions at any one time, and if we have additional time at the end of the call, we could provide time for an additional question or two at the end. And with that, I'll hand across to Vas.

Executive
Vasant Narasimhan

Thank you, Samir, and thanks everyone for joining today's conference call. Here in Basel, I have with me Shannon Klinger, our Legal Counsel; Susanne Schaffert, the CEO of Novartis Oncology; Paul Hudson, the CEO of Novartis Pharmaceuticals; John Tsai, our Head of Global Drug Development; and Harry Kirsch, our Chief Financial Officer.

And as you saw with today's announcement, Novartis is off to a strong start in 2019 if we move to Slide 4. We had strong operational performance with sales growing at 7%, core operating income growing at 18% and our core margin expanding by 2.6%, allowing us to raise our core OpInc guidance, and Harry will go through that in more detail in his presentation.

We also achieved major innovation milestones in the quarter, including the approval of Mayzent in secondary progressive MS, as well as the Zolgensma STR1VE interim analysis, both of which I'll go through in a bit more detail. And lastly and importantly, we continued our transformation to a focused medicines company powered by data science and advanced therapy platform. We complete (technical difficulty) We've also announced we'll complete our $5 billion share buyback over the course of 2019.

And lastly, we confirm that we'll continue a strong and growing dividend to be paid in 2019 -- we paid in 2019 of CHF2.85, and that dividend trend will remain unchanged post the Alcon spin. Now moving to Slide 5. We're starting to deliver operating (technical difficulty) in Innovative Medicines, in line with what we've told you. We committed to generating margins in the mid -30% range by 2022. In this quarter, we showed that we're on track to get there with a core