January 23, 2013 at 09:09 AM EST
Novartis Reports Higher Profits; Chairman Steps Down (NVS)

Healthcare solution provider, Novartis(NVS) reported a surge in earnings for the fourth quarter on Wednesday, beating analysts estimates.

The Basel, Switzerland based company saw a 42% increase in fourth quarter profit, reporting earnings of $2.08 billion, or 84 cents per share, from $1.21 billion, or 49 cents per share last year. Excluding special items, earnings for the quarter came in at $3.10 billion, or $1.27 per share, beating analysts estimate of $1.19 per share.

Revenue remained flat at $14.83 billion, from $14.78 billion last year. Sales during 2013 are expected to drop due to an expired patent on the company’s hypertension drug Diovan.

FY2012 profit increased by 4% to $9.62 billion from $9.25 billion last year.

Additionally, the company announced that chief executive and chairman, Daniel Vasella will be leaving the board in February at the annual shareholders meeting. The board suggests that chairman of Bayer HealthCare, Joerg Reinhardt replace Vasella. Vasella has been with the company for a total of 25 years, spending 14 years as CEO, and 14 years as chairman.

Novartis shares were up $2.72, or 4.18% during premarket trading Wednesday. The stock has increased 18% in the past year.

The Bottom Line
Shares of Novartis (NVS) have a 3.78% dividend yield, based on last night’s closing stock price of $65.13. The stock has technical support in the $60-$62 price area. The shares are trading at all-time highs.

Novartis(NVS) is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com DARS™ Rating of 3.4 out of 5 stars.

Be sure to visit our complete recommended list of the Best Dividend Stocks, as well as a detailed explanation of our ratings system here.

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