BUSINESS LIVE: AstraZeneca ups profit guidance; BATS vape sales soar; Unilever cheers volume growth

The FTSE 100 will open at 8am. Among the companies with reports and trading updates today are AstraZeneca, British American Tobacco, Unilever, Compass Group, Nanoco, SSE and Watches of Switzerland Group. Read the Thursday 8 February Business Live blog below.

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Germany remains the ‘sick man of Europe’ as industrial output falls for seventh month in row

Germany reinforced its status as ‘the sick man of Europe’ as the once-mighty industrial sector clocked up its longest downturn since the aftermath of reunification three decades ago.

Europe’s largest economy and one-time driving force said official data showed that output fell a further 1.6 per cent in December.

AstraZeneca ups profit guidance

AstraZeneca expects higher revenue and profits in 2024, with the drugmaker betting on strong uptake of its infant RSV shot and resilient demand for its cancer and rare blood disorder drugs.

Strong sales of AstraZeneca’s cancer treatments and rare disease drugs, coupled with resilient demand in emerging markets, have since fuelled its growth.

The London-listed company said it expects total revenue and core earnings per share (EPS) to increase by a low double-digit to low teens percentage this year.

For 2023, AstraZeneca reported revenue of $45.81billion and core EPS of $7.26.

For the fourth quarter, it reported core EPS of $1.45 on total revenue of $12.02billion, compared with forecasts of a $1.50 per share profit on revenue of $12.01billion.