Tax deal boosts Astrazeneca profit

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AstraZeneca said profits would be boosted this year after settling an ongoing dispute over its US tax bill. The pharmaceutical company said it would pay $1.1bn (£689m) as part of an agreement with UK and US tax authorities – less than it had set aside.

Astra said its tax rate for 2011 was now expected to fall to 21 per cent, from 27 per cent, lifting first-quarter earnings by about $500m. An additional tax deal was made relating to the integration of its US businesses in 2000 after the merger of Sweden's Astra and the UK's Zeneca in 1999.