Included in total Group results for 2007 were contributions from Medical Nutrition (until June 30) and Gerber (until August 31) before divestments in separate transactions. These were the final divestments as part of the Group's strategy to focus solely on growth areas of healthcare with innovative medicines as well as generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines and diagnostics, and targeted consumer health products.
The 2007 results further include significant charges of approximately USD 1 billion for a Corporate environmental provision increase of USD 590 million, including costs for the related share of any potential remediation costs for historical landfills in the Basel region as well as restructuring charges for "Forward" of USD 444 million. This strategic initiative was launched in December 2007 to improve competitiveness and help Novartis more rapidly meet the needs of patients and customers. This initiative, which is now underway and will be implemented in 2008 and 2009, will simplify organizational structures, accelerate and decentralize decision-making processes, redesign the way Novartis operates and provide productivity gains. Pre-tax annual cost savings of approximately USD 1.6 billion are targeted in 2010.
Novartis AG provides healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Focused solely on growth areas in healthcare, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines and diagnostic tools, and consumer health products. Novartis is the only company with leading positions in these areas. In 2007, the Group's continuing operations (excluding divestments in 2007) achieved net sales of USD 38.1 billion and net income of USD 6.5 billion. Approximately USD 6.4 billion was invested in R&D activities throughout the Group. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis Group companies employ approximately 98,200 full-time associates and operate in over 140 countries around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.novartis.com.