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Merck Q4 profits soar on back of Serono purchase

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FRANKFURT, Germany Merck recently released its fourth quarter and full year report for 2007.

For the quarter, the company’s profit soared to $4.9 billion from $190.7 million during the same quarter last year, based mostly from the benefits of its acquisition of Serono and the selling of its generic drug unit to Mylan. For the year, the company’s net profit was $5.1 billion, up from $1.47 billion in 2006.

The selling of the generic drug unit allowed the company to be “able to repay essentially all the debt resulting from the purchase of Serono after less than one year,” according to the company.

“For Merck, 2007 was a year of major accomplishments—the successful integration of Serono, the sale of generics and a capital increase, resulting in a very low net debt at year end,” according to chief executive Karl-Ludwig Kley. The Merck Serono division saw its pharmaceutical sales more than double to $6.5 billion from $2.8 billion in 2006, based on the Serono deal.

Kley also said that given its performance so far and its outlook for 2008 even “in these uncertain economic times, we expect 2008 will be another year of solid growth for Merck.” The company said it expects revenue to grow between 5 percent and 9 percent by the end of the year.

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