Where can I learn more about Novartis financial results?

Our Financial Data section provides links to:

Upcoming releases and more events are listed in our Event Calendar.

How do you calculate your earning per share?

Basic earnings per share (EPS) is calculated by dividing net income attributable to shareholders of Novartis AG by the weighted average number of shares outstanding in a reporting period. This calculation excludes the average number of issued shares purchased by the Group and held as treasury shares.

For diluted EPS, the weighted average number of shares outstanding is adjusted to assume the vesting of all restricted shares, restricted share units, and the conversion of all potentially dilutive shares arising from options on Novartis shares that have been issued.

No options were excluded from the calculation of diluted EPS in 2021, 2020 or 2019, as all options were dilutive in all years.

Per-share information

  2021 2020 2019
Net income attributable to shareholders of Novartis AG (USD millions)      
- Continuing operations 24 021 8 072 7 142
- Discontinued operations     4 590
Total 24 021 8 072 11 732
Number of shares (in millions)
Weighted average number of shares outstanding used in basic earnings per share
2 243 2 277 2 291
Adjustment for vesting of restricted shares, restricted share units and dilutive shares from options 17
Weighted average number of shares in diluted earnings per share 2 260 2 296 2 319
Basic earnings per share (USD)      
- Continuing operations 10.71 3.55 3.12
- Discontinued operations     2.00
Total 10.71 3.55 5.12
Diluted earnings per share (USD)      
- Continuing operations 10.63 3.52 3.08
- Discontinued operations     1.98
Total 10.63 3.52 5.06

Are there any limitations on voting rights for registered shareholders?

The Company’s Articles of Incorporation state that no person or entity shall be registered with the right to vote for more than 2% of the share capital, as set forth in the commercial register. In particular cases, the Board of Directors may allow exemptions from the limitation for registration in the Novartis Share Register.

According to the Novartis Share Register, shareholders who owned 2% or more of the Company’s capital at December 31, 2021, and were entitled to voting rights on all of their shares, excluding treasury shares held by Novartis AG or its fully owned subsidiaries, were as follows:

  % holding of share capital
Dec 31, 2021
% holding of share capital
Dec 31, 2020
Emasan AG, Basel 3.7 3.6
UBS Fund Management (Switzerland) AG, Basel 2.3 2.3
Credit Suisse Funds AG, Zurich 2.1 2.0

What is the exposure to exchange rate risk for Novartis?

We transact our business in many currencies other than the US dollar, our reporting currency. The following table provides an overview of net sales and operating expenses for our continuing operations based on IFRS values for 2021 and 2020, for currencies most important to the Group: 

Currency   2021
US dollar (USD) Net sales 35 36
  Operating expenses 35 34
Euro (EUR) Net sales 29 29
  Operating expenses 26 27
Swiss franc (CHF) Net sales 2 2
  Operating expenses 18 18
Chinese yuan (CNY) Net sales 6 5
  Operating expenses 3 3
Japanese yen (JPY) Net sales 5 6
  Operating expenses 3 3
Canadian dollar (CAD) Net sales 3 3
  Operating expenses 2 1
British pound (GBP) Net sales 3 2
  Operating expenses 2 3
Russian ruble (RUB) Net sales 2 2
  Operating expenses 1 1
Brazilian real (BRL) Net sales 1 2
  Operating expenses 1 1
Australian dollar (AUD) Net sales 1 1
  Operating expenses 1 1
Other currencies Net sales 13 12
  Operating expenses 8 8

Operating expenses in the above table include cost of goods sold, selling, general and administration, research and development, other income and other expense.

We prepare our consolidated financial statements in US dollars. As a result, fluctuations in the exchange rates between the US dollar and other currencies can have a significant effect on both the Group’s results of operations as well as the reported value of our assets, liabilities and cash flows. This in turn may significantly affect reported earnings (both positively and negatively) and the comparability of period-to-period results of operations.

For purposes of our consolidated balance sheets, we translate assets and liabilities denominated in other currencies into US dollars at the prevailing market exchange rates as of the relevant balance sheet date. For purposes of the Group’s consolidated income and cash flow statements, revenue, expense and cash flow items in local currencies are translated into US dollars at average exchange rates prevailing during the relevant period. As a result, even if the amounts or values of these items remain unchanged in the respective local currency, changes in exchange rates have an impact on the amounts or values of these items in our consolidated financial statements.

Because our expenditure in Swiss francs is significantly higher than our revenue in Swiss francs, volatility in the value of the Swiss franc can have a significant impact on the reported value of our earnings, assets and liabilities, and the timing and extent of such volatility can be difficult to predict.

Top 10 ESG-related questions from shareholders and our responses

In this quarter, investor questions focused on Social issues, including Access, Diversity and Workforce topics.

Last updated: April 27, 2022

Novartis mentions that ESG is important to create value. What do you mean by value creation?

  • We believe that the ultimate aim of ESG is to create positive impact on society, with this impact being intentional and measurable. We also believe that ‘impact’ is change that goes beyond what would have happened regardless.
  • Access to innovative therapies and addressing unresolved global health challenges is where the healthcare industry can drive the largest impact to society, as this is the highest unmet need in medicine.
  • Some of our efforts at Novartis include our 2020 sustainability-linked bond (SLB), our emerging growth brands and our Sub-Saharan strategy which focus on innovation and creating value for different stakeholders, which include healthcare professionals, patients, and our shareholders. These efforts were intentional, created to have measurable KPIs and further access to innovative medicines.

Do you foresee any impact of the recently announced Sandoz strategic review to your access efforts?

  • Novartis commenced a strategic review of Sandoz that is exploring all options, ranging from retaining the business to separation to determine how to best maximize value for our shareholders. No decision has been taken on Sandoz yet.
  • Our commitment to improving access is focused on innovative medicines. Some examples of this include our Sustainability-linked bond and Global Health Access programs.
  • Sandoz is the world’s leading provider of generic antibiotics, which makes up 80% of the antibiotics market. We are committed to determining how best to enable Sandoz to continue to be the leading generics company in the world.
  • The cross-divisional Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) program continues unchanged. The leading Sandoz portfolio of essential antibiotics plays a key role on access, responsible manufacturing and responsible use.

How do you balance achieving profitability and delivering on access in LMICs?

  • Our approach to access has evolved over the past two decades as we strive for more sustained impact: We have pivoted from donation programs towards full integration in our core business. Our access thinking goes beyond affordability – it includes R&D and health systems strengthening activities to ensure long-term sustainable impact.
  • Most of our access programs relating to innovative therapies in LMICs are either accretive (resulting in incremental growth) or self-sustaining, and we are progressing in this direction across the diverse markets we operate in.
  • As an example, in 2019, we announced a new approach to reach more patients in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) across our portfolio. As part of this strategy, the regional organization will prioritize driving access to medicines to help reach more patients across different income levels, in addition to traditional business metrics, such as profits and margins. Our SSA sub-unit is delivering a sustainable and profitable model to reach underserved populations.
  • We maintain a philanthropic Global Health program, which is focused on Leprosy and we have recently renewed our commitment with WHO to extend our multi-drug therapy donation for leprosy until 2025.

Can you share progress on gender equality in 2021?

  • In 2018, we signed the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC) pledge to achieve gender balance in management and improve pay equity and transparency processes by 2023. We are on track to deliver on our targets. Our female representation in overall management is currently 46% and we report on our gender representation in our Novartis in Society Integrated report (see page 66 here)
  • In 2021, we introduced gender neutral parental leave. All Novartis employees worldwide are eligible for a minimum 14 weeks of paid parental leave on the birth or adoption of a child, effective from their first day of employment. Across 33 countries, over 4600 employees took advantage of this benefit in 2021. This figure was represented by 59% of women and 41% of men.

How is the Board planning to increase its diversity profile over the next two years?

  • Diversity of culture, experience and perspective are key factors to Board effectiveness and risk evaluation.
  • We are continuously looking for opportunities to increase our Board diversity, including gender, age, nationality, and ethnicity.
  • The female representation on our Board currently amounts to 31%, and we have recently welcomed Ana de Pro Gonzalo to the Board.

What is the latest update on Novartis Workforce Disclosure scores (WDI)?

  • Transparency on our workforce efforts is important to us, as it continually holds us accountable to set ambitious targets and create a productive and positive environment for our associates.
  • Novartis received a special mention as part of the “Workforce Action Award” which was awarded by the Workforce Disclosure Initiative (WDI), following our first submission in 2021.
  • Our disclosure scores are above average overall as well as for the healthcare industry. Novartis is scored at 82% vs the healthcare average at 74% and the Switzerland average at 59%.
  • As background, WDI is now backed by 62 investors and 173 publicly listed companies including 50 FTSE 100 companies which have disclosed data on workforce practices in 2021.

What is your intention with the new Sub-Saharan model?

  • To drive access in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), we established a dedicated Novartis SSA unit of about 700 employees that aims to expand the availability of our full portfolio of medicines, taking a high-volume lower-price approach, with the aspiration to double patient reach in the region by 2022 and increase it fivefold by 2025.
  • Our goal is to prioritize driving access to innovative medicines and reaching more patients across income levels.
  • For example, we aim to bring affordable cancer treatments to 22 countries in SSA through our Cancer Access Partnership with the Clinton Access Initiative. In 2021, we reached the milestone of 1 billion treatments of our antimalarial medicine, Coartem with more than 90% supplied without profit. More details are here.

Are you planning to share your data on employee demographics in US operations?

  • As part of our ongoing commitment to D&I, Novartis is taking the initiative to publicly disclose the consolidated US EEO demographics data that we prepared for the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This is a government-required submission filed by all companies with 50 or more employees in the US that provides demographic information related to gender, race, and ethnicity of a company’s US employee population.
  • Novartis published its US Equal Employment Opportunity report, which provides a summary of the data submitted to the government along with a discussion of our initiatives that further D&I at Novartis and contribute to a positive impact on society. Our goal is to provide transparency and insights into our efforts to support progress on D&I. To meet our EPIC pay equity and transparency commitments, we started sharing with our US associates their pay as compared to external benchmarks, and plan to expand this to internal benchmarks in 2022. Further detail on our 2021 report is here.

How do you ensure you provide access to gene therapies in Low-Income and Low-Middle income countries?

  • An example is Novartis’ efforts in providing access for Zolgensma. Through our global Managed Access Program (MAP), we committed in 2020 to provide free access to Zolgensma across 24 regions and countries, including providing the first-ever SMA gene therapy administration in countries such as Chile, Mexico, Tunisia, Belarus, India, Malaysia and Vietnam.
  • We believe that to deliver sustainable and rapid access to Zolgensma requires innovative solutions and partnerships with governments, civil society and public / private payers.
  • One of our approaches is through our Early Access Agreements, which Novartis Gene Therapies can offer. Access options include deferred payments, pay over-time options and outcomes-based agreements, which are in line with our value-based pricing principles.

You conducted a pilot on 25k employees on your flexible work scheme. What are lessons learnt?

  • In 2020, we rolled out a new working model for our associates called “Choice with Responsibility”. It offered our associates more flexibility in the workplace, in response to our internal surveys which showed that our associates wanted to continue with hybrid-working models post-pandemic.
  • We conducted a follow up study in 2021 on 25k employees to assess workplace flexibility. Feedback included:
    - 60 – 70% of our associates surveyed prefer a hybrid working model
    - Teams that embraced flexibility have been better able to prevent burnout, while improving productivity
    - No one size fits all, as our survey has shown that there is significant variability in preference between countries and business units.
  • We will continue to assess new ways of working, learning and adjust our thinking along the way.

What is the new cost basis of my Novartis and Alcon shares following the spin-off of Alcon from Novartis?

Information about allocation of tax basis for U.S. holders may be found in the Form 8937: Basis of Securities (PDF 0.1 MB). With regard to non-U.S. holders, please note that the allocation of tax basis for Novartis and Alcon shares following the spin-off depend on the applicable local tax provisions and each shareholder’s individual circumstances. Accordingly, all shareholders and ADR holders are asked to consult their own tax advisor regarding the tax basis allocation calculations.

What are the income tax implications to Canadian shareholders due to the Alcon spin-off?

The following documents include the Finance Canada and Canada Revenue Agency comfort letter, Canada income tax guidelines and tax election letters related to the Alcon Spin-off for Canadian resident shareholders:

Canada Income Tax Alcon Spin-off FAQ - English (PDF 0.1 MB)

Canada Income Tax Alcon Spin-off FAQ- French (PDF 0.1 MB)

Department of Finance Canada Comfort Letter (PDF 0.1 MB)

Download the Canada and Quebec Tax Election Example Letters (ZIP 0.1 MB)


Where are Novartis shares traded?

Novartis shares are listed and traded on the SIX Swiss Exchange (Valor No. 001200526, ISIN CH0012005267, symbol: NOVN) as well as on the NYSE in the form of American Depositary Receipts (ADR) (Valor No. 567514, ISIN US66987V1098, symbol: NVS).

What are the ticker symbols for Novartis?

Shares SIX (Reuters / Bloomberg) NOVN.S / NOVN SW
ADRs NYSE (Reuters / Bloomberg) NVS / NVS US

What is an ADR/ADS?

ADR stands for American Depositary Receipt. ADS stands for American Depositary Share. An ADR is a receipt for a number of shares of a foreign-based corporation held by a US depositary bank, entitling the ADR holder to all dividends and capital gains.

What is the number of outstanding shares in Novartis?

Key Novartis share data

Calculated on the weighted average number of shares outstanding

  2021 2020 2019
Issued shares 2 434 420 920 2 467 060 920 2 527 374 820
Treasury shares1 199 480 972 210 238 872 262 366 332
Outstanding shares at December 31 2 234 939 948 2 256 822 048 2 265 008 488
Weighted average number of shares outstanding 2 242 601 173 2 277 041 940 2 290 792 782

1. Approximately 102 million treasury shares (2020: 103 million; 2019: 118 million) are held in Novartis entities that restrict their availability for use.

What is the number of outstanding ADRs in Novartis?

Key data on ADRs issued in the US

  2021 2020 2019
Year-end ADR price (USD) 87.47 94.43 94.69
Number of ADRs outstanding1 269 891 321 288 755 853 315 073 094

1. The depositary, JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., holds one Novartis AG share for every ADR issued.

When is your dividend going to be paid?

The dividend payment date has been set for March 10, 2022.

What is the dividend history for Novartis shares?

Shareholders approved the 25th consecutive dividend increase to CHF 3.10 (+3.3%) per share for 2021 at the Annual General Meeting on March 04, 2022.

Learn more about dividend information

What is the amount and timing of the next dividend payment?

The Annual General Meeting of shareholders held on March 4, 2022 approved a gross dividend (before taxes and duties) of CHF 3.10 per dividend-bearing share of CHF 0.50 nominal value.

The last trading day with entitlement to receive the dividend is March 7, 2022.

As from March 8, 2022 the shares will be traded ex-dividend. This dividend will be paid as of March 10, 2022 (the Swiss payment date).

Is the dividend on the Novartis ordinary share and the Novartis ADR the same?

Yes, however, since ADR holders will receive their dividend in US dollars, the amount received will be impacted by currency exchange rates, as well as by a handling fee (historically, $0.01 per share) associated with the ADR dividend. An estimate of the amount of the US dollar dividend for the ADR will be calculated on the day of the dividend announcement based on that day’s exchange rates. The actual exchange rate will be determined once all funds are received and exchanged by J.P. Morgan, the depositary bank.

Since 2019, Novartis’s dividend to ADR holders will be paid in two stages. The first payment will be equal to 65% of the payout, payable one week after Swiss payment date. Those holders reclaiming withholding tax will receive a second payment once the reclaim process is completed.

Will the rate recently announced for the ADRs change between now and the ADR payment date?

Yes, the preliminary announcement only provides an estimated rate based on a current FX rate. The actual rate will be determined when the Swiss Francs are converted to US dollars on the Swiss payment date once all the funds are received by J.P. Morgan, the Depositary.

Will the entire dividend amount be converted into US dollars on the Swiss payment date of March 10, 2022?

On the Swiss payment date only 65% of the dividend is received. This amount will be converted into US dollars and paid on the ADR payment date of March 17, 2022.

When will the remainder of the funds be converted and paid to the ADR holders?

The remainder of the funds due to ADR holders will be converted only after a tax reclaim has been completed and once any such reclaimed funds have been received by J.P. Morgan from the Swiss Tax Authorities. Once the funds are received and converted into US dollars a payment will be made shortly thereafter to any ADR holders entitled thereto. From previous years, we can expect tax reclaim funds to be distributed to ADR holders six to seven weeks after the Swiss payment date.

Why can’t J.P. Morgan receive all of the funds on the Swiss payment date?

The Swiss Tax Authorities require that a tax reclaim be completed prior to each payment for any amounts due above and beyond the non-treaty amount. Investors must certify and elect their entitlement and provide necessary disclosure documentation as required by the treaty between the US and Switzerland based upon their tax status.

Why does it take so long to get the reclaim funds back from the Swiss Tax Authorities?

Holders of ADRs entitled to receive the dividend are not able to elect until after the ADR record date which is just one (1) day prior to the Swiss payment date. Eligible holders of ADRs are given 10 days to complete and submit their election. Once any reclaims are submitted to the Swiss Tax Authorities it takes approximately 15 days for such authorities to process the reclaim.

Will another announcement be made once the tax reclaim funds are received?

No, the funds will be converted and paid to the holders.

How does the tax reclaim process work?

There is a process for banks and brokers within Depositary Trust Company to elect their clients’ correct tax status electronically and to provide documentation on behalf of their clients. J.P. Morgan elects on behalf of registered holders based upon their tax status. Please contact J.P. Morgan / Goal Group Recoveries, Inc., New York at +1 212 248 9130 for further questions.