Lek tops the list of the best companies in Slovenia

28. 11. 2007

Delo’s business supplement, Delo FT, analyzes the best Slovenian companies over the whole year using several indicators to make out a series of ratings as the criteria for the selection of the “super champion” – the top company at the end of the year. This year this prestigious title was awarded to Lek.

According to Delo’s supplement, Lek was one of the most successful Slovenian companies for years and has remained an outstanding company also in foreign ownership. Lek continues to invest significantly into production facilities and research and development in Slovenia and at the same time further strengthens its development role in Sandoz.

2006 was a particularly successful year for Lek. 9% of sale was achieved in Slovenia, 48% in Central and Eastern Europe and 43% in Western Europe, USA and other overseas countries. The most significant sales growth (62%) was experienced in Western Europe, USA and overseas countries.

With a net profit of EUR 115 million, Lek topped the list of the biggest companies in Slovenia in the terms of profit last year, and won seventh place in the terms of revenues. The almost 28% net profit increase was due to the growth of sales as well as to the improvements in working processes and optimization of the administrative part of business operations.

According to Delo FT, such achievements are due especially to investments into research and development activities. Lek dedicated 9.5% of its income from sales to investments of this kind. In the Development centre Slovenia Lek develops products for the European Union, USA and Canada; last year, we included many development projects for Japan and Australia, too and thereby reached a high degree of globalization. Lek’s researchers are important also within Novartis and Sandoz – two Lek’s employees were selected among all scientists in Sandoz to receive the Novartis Leading Scientist Award Viva for outstanding scientific achievements. Furthermore, Lek’s opening of the new Development Centre Biopharmaceuticals this October will strengthen its leading position in the field of biopharmaceuticals, as well.

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Lek, a Sandoz company, is one of the pillars of leading world generics company Sandoz. It operates as a global development center for products and technologies, as a global manufacturing center for active pharmaceutical ingredients and medicines, as a competence center for the development of vertically integrated products, as a Sandoz competence center in the field of development and manufacturing of biopharmaceutical products and as a supply center for the markets of CEE, SEE and CIS, sales Slovenia and sales services for Sandoz’s global markets. Lek d.d. employs about 2,820 people and achieved total sales of USD 904 million in 2006. For further information please consult http://www.lek.si

Sandoz, a Division of the Novartis group, is a global leader in the field of generic pharmaceuticals, offering a wide array of high-quality, affordable products that are no longer protected by patents. Sandoz has a portfolio of more than 840 active substances in over 5 000 forms worldwide. Key product groups include antibiotics, treatments for central nervous system disorders, gastrointestinal medicines, cardiovascular treatments and hormone therapies. Sandoz develops, produces and markets these drugs along with pharmaceutical and biotechnological active substances and anti-infectives. In addition to the strong organic growth in recent years, Sandoz has made a series of acquisitions including Lek (Slovenia), Sabex (Canada), Hexal (Germany) and EonLabs (U.S.) and sells its products in more than 110 countries. In 2006, Sandoz employed around 21,000 people worldwide and posted sales of USD 6 billion.

Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS) is a world leader in offering medicines to protect health, cure disease and improve well-being. Our goal is to discover, develop and successfully market innovative products to treat patients, ease suffering and enhance the quality of life. Novartis is the only company with leadership positions in both patented and generic pharmaceuticals. We are strengthening our medicine-based portfolio, which is focused on strategic growth platforms in innovation-driven pharmaceuticals, high-quality and low-cost generics and leading self-medication OTC brands. In 2006, the Group’s businesses achieved net sales of USD 37.0 billion and net income of USD 7.2 billion. Approximately USD 5.4 billion was invested in R&D. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis Group companies employ approximately 101,000 people and operate in over 140 countries around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.novartis.com.

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This press release contains statements and conclusions based on projections of Lek’s future business operations. These estimates are derived from the best information currently available. In case these forecasts prove unreliable, the actual results could prove different from those projected.

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For further information contact:

Katarina Klemenc Dinjaški

Corporate Communications

Lek Pharmaceuticals d.d.

Phone: + 386 1 580 22 43

Fax: + 386 1 580 24 32