Roche CEO rosy on 2009 performance

Roche CEO Severin Schwan (photo) is confident his company will outpace the market this year, as well as hit its 2009 sales goal, according to Swiss paper Handelszeitung. The company hoped to achieve high single-digit sales growth this year. Even excluding Tamiflu sales (which contributed significantly to the company's bottom line in Q3) Schwan says Roche's pharma unit is growing faster than its competitors, and that sales will likely exceed $2.67 billion this year. Additionally, the CEO predicts the company's blockbuster cancer drug Avastin could become an even bigger moneymaker for the company; there are more than 450 trials in progress for 30 types of cancer. Avastin sales have contributed to he double-digit growth of Roche's oncology portfolio. 

Following this year's $47 billion acquisition of Genentech, Schwan noted that Roche will focus on small to mid-sized deals in 2010. He added that next year the company will rid itself of 25 percent of its debt and have a positive net-cash position by 2015.

- take a look at this Reuters article