February 14, 2020 / 12:24 PM / in 12 days

AstraZeneca's CEO reaffirms 2021 targets

FILE PHOTO: The company logo for pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is displayed on a screen on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange, U.S., April 8, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - AstraZeneca (AZN.L) is fully on track to reach its earnings goal for next year, its chief executive told Reuters on Friday after the British drugmaker’s quarterly earnings missed market expectations.

“What we’ve said is that by 2021 we would cover the dividend in full and we would target an operating margin north of 30%. This is very much in line with what we are targeting,” CEO Pascal Soriot said, following the release of fourth-quarter results.

AstraZeneca is moving into a third year of sales growth after changes driven by Soriot and now has nine drugs with annual sales of more than $1 billion but analysts and investors have been looking for clues whether the company’s earnings growth would keep up.

The company’s 2019 operating margin, or earnings before interest and tax over total revenue, was 26%.

Reporting by Ludwig Burger; editing by David Evans

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