• Kyodo News

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Chugai Pharmaceutical Co. said Wednesday its consolidated net profit surged 44.2 percent from a year earlier to an all-time high of ¥56.63 billion in the year that ended in December, with sales of the flu drug Tamiflu soaring roughly nine-fold.

But the company anticipates much lower earnings this year because Tamiflu sales are expected to tumble to ¥38.7 billion from a new high of ¥76.2 billion last year.

In 2009, its group operating profit jumped 60.2 percent to ¥82.61 billion on sales of ¥428.95 billion, up 31.2 percent, also a record high.

Tamiflu sold well as hospitals and prefectural governments stockpiled sizable amounts amid the spread of swine flu.

Brisk sales of cancer drugs also contributed to the company’s stellar performance in 2009, Chugai said.

For fiscal 2010, the company estimates a group net profit of ¥44 billion, down 22.3 percent, and an operating profit of ¥70 billion, down 15.3 percent, on sales of ¥418.5 billion, down 2.4 percent.

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