Drug giants Glaxosmithkline saw pre-tax profits fall by more than half in 2014.
The international manufacturer said headwinds would continue into the first half of 2015 as pre-tax profits plunged from £6.6bn to £2.97bn.
Glaxo, which operates a manufacturing facility in County Durham, remained confident of a better second half.
The firm’s chief executive, Sir Andrew Witty, said good progress had been made on the multi-billion dollar deal with Novartis to swap assets and combine consumer healthcare units.
Eventually the deal is expected to return £4bn of the net proceeds to shareholders.
Mr Witty also noted the strong performance of Glaxo’s HIV drugs arm, ViiV Healthcare – which saw sales increase by 15%.
Glaxo is eyeing a potential IPO of a minority stake in this business, which it expects to update shareholders on in the second quarter of 2015.
For 2014 the firm declared a dividend of 80p, with expectations to maintain that level for 2015.