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With the spin-off, Alcon will operate as a standalone company, and Novartis will focus on its core innovative medicines.
Novartis has completed the spin-off of the Alcon eye care devices business, the company announced on April 9, 2019. The spin-off was completed through a dividend-in-kind distribution to holders of Novartis shares and American Depositary Receipts (ADRs). Each holder received one Alcon share for every five Novartis shares or ADRs held on April 8, 2019, at the close of business.
Shares in Alcon, Inc. will be listed and traded under the symbol "ALC" on the SIX Swiss Exchange (SIX) and on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), starting on April 9, 2019. Shares of Novartis will continue to trade on the SIX under the symbol "NOVN" and Novartis ADRs will continue to trade on the NYSE under the symbol "NVS".
Novartis announced its plans to spin off the eye care devices business in March 2019. Execution of the spin-off allows Novartis to fully focus its capital allocation and management attention on medicines and gives the pharma major a financial profile closer to its pharmaceutical industry peers, including higher group margins. Novartis plans to improve core margins for its innovative medicines into the mid-30s by 2022.
"This is an incredibly exciting day for both Novartis and Alcon. Alcon has demonstrated consistent growth and is coming to market from a position of strength. We wish them the very best for the future. At Novartis, we continue to reimagine ourselves as a leading medicines company powered by breakthrough medicines, data science, and advanced therapy platforms. We are well positioned for the future and I am excited for our associates, our investors, and most importantly for patients," said Vas Narasimhan, CEO of Novartis, in a company press release.
Novartis expects to have 10 potential blockbuster launches in the next two years and an additional 20 potential blockbusters on the horizon. Four of these launches are planned in 2019, including brolucizumab (RTH258), which is part of the ophthalmology pharmaceuticals business retained by the company. The company has a pipeline of potential novel treatments for presbyopia, dry eye, and genetic diseases.
Novartis plans to provide more information on its strategic priorities and prospects to investors and analysts at its annual meeting in Cambridge, MA, on May 22–23, 2019.