Novartis Meets Full-Year Double-Digit Sales Growth Objective with Strong Operating Performance in 2002


BASEL, Switzerland, Jan. 23, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- Novartis (NYSE:NVS):

 -- Group sales up 11% in local currencies (2% in CHF) thanks to strong 
    volume growth in Pharmaceuticals and Generics

 -- Pharmaceuticals consistently outperforms industry average in all
    major markets throughout 2002, delivering sales growth of 13% in
    local currencies (4% in CHF), driven by the cardiovascular and 
    oncology franchises

 -- Dynamic growth in Generics (+25% in local currencies) produced by 
    geographic expansion and successful launches

 -- Group operating income climbs 8% on the back of strong top-line growth 
    and enhanced productivity

 -- Net income up 4% due to strong operating performance and a very 
    satisfactory level of financial income amid adverse market conditions 

 -- Earnings per share rise 7% based on higher income and a reduction in 
    the number of shares (share repurchase program)

 -- Free cash flow after dividend payment up 10%

 -- Switch to reporting in U.S. dollars anticipated in the first quarter 
    of 2003

To view this release in its entirety, please click the link: