ZURICH, July 26 (Reuters) - Swiss drugmaker Roche lifted its 2018 outlook on Thursday for the second time this year, after first-half sales and profit easily beat analyst expectations on the strength of newer drugs including multiple sclerosis treatment Ocrevus.
First-half sales rose 7 percent to 28.1 billion Swiss francs ($28.35 billion), compared to the average forecast in a Reuters poll of 27.5 billion francs. Its core operating result rose to 11.2 billion francs, compared to 10.369 billion in the poll.
Roche raised its outlook for 2018, and now expects mid-single digit sales growth, at constant exchange rates, up from an expected low single-digit percentage rise. Core earnings per share excluding U.S. tax reform impacts will grow broadly in line with sales, the company said. ($1 = 0.9912 Swiss francs) (Reporting by John Miller)