AstraZenecaAstraZeneca PLC has reported that sales in the third quarter increased by 3 percent at CER, or 9 percent on an as reported basis. Sales in the US were unchanged, as the $141 million decline in sales of Toprol-XL from generic competition was offset by 5 percent growth in the rest of the US business. Sales in the Rest of World were up 6 percent. Sales in Established Markets were up 2 percent. The strong performance in Emerging Markets continues, with sales up 18 percent to $1,116 million, and this accounted for two thirds of the Rest of World sales increase.

Core operating profit in the third quarter was up 15 percent to $2,771 million, chiefly as a result of the sales increase, improvement in Core gross margin and R&D efficiencies. Reported operating profit increased by 19 percent to $2,522 million.

Core earnings per share in the third quarter were $1.32 compared with $1.04 in the third quarter 2007, a 20 percent increase at CER. In addition to the increase in Core operating profit, Core earnings per share benefited from lower net interest expense, the result of a fair value gain relating to certain long term bonds in issue, and a lower number of shares outstanding. Reported earnings per share in the third quarter were $1.20, an increase of 24 percent.

Nine Months
Sales for the nine months increased by 3 percent at CER, or 9 percent on an as reported basis. Sales in the US were unchanged as the sales decline in Toprol-XL was largely offset by the inclusion of MedImmune and modest growth in the rest of the US business. Sales in the Rest of World were up 6 percent. Sales in Established Markets were up 2 percent, with sales in Western Europe unchanged. Sales in Emerging Markets were up 16 percent.

Core operating profit increased by 10 percent to $8,273 million, as a result of improvements in gross margin and R&D efficiencies that more than offset the effect of lower other income and a slight increase in SG&A costs. Reported operating profit increased by 8 percent to $7,252 million.

Core earnings per share for the nine months were $3.85, an increase of 8 percent. Reported earnings per share for the nine months were $3.34, a 5 percent increase compared to last year.

Research and Development Update
A comprehensive update of the AstraZeneca R&D pipeline was presented in conjunction with the Half Year 2008 results and the pipeline table remains available on the Company's website, www.astrazeneca.com, under information for investors.