Swiss Daybook: Novartis Charges, Nestle Bid, SNB 2011 Profit

Novartis AG (NOVN) plans to book a $900 million charge as it reassesses the sale potential of its Rasilez drug and said it will cut 1,960 jobs in the U.S. to prepare for the expiry of a patent on its Diovan medicine.

The restructuring will lead to a charge of $160 million in the first quarter and annual savings of $450 million by 2013, the Basel-based company said. The $900 million charge will be booked in the fourth quarter. Novartis said it’s also taking a $160 million charge in the fourth quarter to terminate programs on elinogrel and oral calcitonin.

EQUITIES: *Nestle SA (NESN) and Danone SA made first-round bids for Pfizer Inc.’s baby-formula unit, putting two of Europe’s largest food companies in competition for the division, people with knowledge of the matter said *Petroplus (PPHN)’s corporate family rating was cut to Caa2 from Caa3 and its probability of default rating to Caa3 from Caa1 *Sulzer AG (SUN) said it completed the acquisition of pump company Hidrotecar S.A. in Burgos, Spain *Dufry buys 51% of retail company at Russian airport *Cicor (CICN) said it’s opening a sales company in the U.S. *Schaffner Holding (SAHN) expects fiscal first-half sales to be lower than the year-earlier period

ECONOMY/POLITICS: *Switzerland’s central bank returned to a profit last year as the valuation of gold holdings and foreign currency reserves helped bolster earnings. The profit was 13 billion francs Swiss francs ($13.8 billion), the Swiss National Bank (SNBN) said when publishing its initial estimate. In 2010, the SNB had reported a record loss of 19.2 billion francs.

WHAT TO WATCH: *Goldman Sachs Global Strategy Conference at 8 a.m. in Zurich

MARKETS: *The benchmark SMI gained 0.2 percent to 6,018.07 *The SPI increased 0.3 percent at 5,427.91 *The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.2 percent to 249.50 *The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index rose 0.8 percent by 7:41 a.m. Swiss time *Euro-franc traded at 1.2122 at 7:43 a.m. Zurich time

To contact the reporters on this story: Klaus Wille in Zurich at kwille@bloomberg.net; Corinne Gretler in Zurich at cgretler1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.