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Astellas sees rise in 9-month profit, will buy back 30 million shares

Astellas Pharma Inc. reported a 4.6% year-over-year increase in core profit for the first three quarters of the fiscal year despite a 5.6% decrease in year-over-year sales.

Core profit for the nine-month period from April through December 2016 grew to ¥177.19 billion, or ¥83.62 per share, from ¥169.38 billion, or ¥78.16 per share, in the year-ago period.

Sales amounted to ¥1.006 trillion, down from ¥1.066 trillion during the same period a year earlier. The company said sales in Japan fell due to factors including the National Health Insurance drug price revisions, enforced in April 2016.

Vaccine sales declined due to continued impact of shipping restraints by the manufacturer in the prior fiscal year. Revenues were affected by sales declines of cholesterol-control drug Lipitor and gastric ulcer drug Gaster, mainly due to the impact of generics.

The company did not include the sales and expenses of products from the global dermatology business transferred to LEO Pharma A/S in April 2016. However, consideration for the business transfer was recognized as revenue over certain periods.

Separately, Astellas said its board adopted a resolution to buy back up to 30 million shares of the company for up to ¥50 billion from Feb. 1 to March 24.

As of Jan. 30, US$1 was equivalent to ¥113.84.