City File: SmithKline Beecham unveils second-quarter profits

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The Independent Online
ON TUESDAY, a few days before the Wellcome secondary share sale is complete, major pharmaceuticals rival SmithKline Beecham unwraps its second-quarter profit figures. Neither company is cheap, but the Anglo-American SKB yields 2.5 per cent against Wellcome's 1.5 per cent, and sells for 18 times historic earnings - a much less demanding rating than that of Wellcome. SKB is expected to come in with pre-tax profits of pounds 254m in the quarter, making pounds 532m for the half year to June, 10 per cent up on last year. Earnings per share are expected to rise 12 per cent, helped by the impact of lower interest rates on SKB's dollar auction rate preferred shares. And with dividend cuts all around in the market, SKB is likely to continue its 11 per cent increase in the pay-out to 4.14p net for the half year.