Pfizer posts big jump in 4Q sales, profit

Pfizer posts big jump in 4th-qtr sales, profit thanks to $68 billion Wyeth acquisition

Pfizer Inc., fresh from its mega-acquisition of fellow drugmaker Wyeth, on Wednesday posted a 34 percent jump in revenue to beat Wall Street expectations, but its profit came up a tad short.

The maker of Viagra and cholesterol fighter Lipitor said its revenue in the fourth quarter totaled $16.54 billion, half a billion above what analysts were expecting as the recession continues to reduce sales of even prescription medicines. Wyeth products contributed $3.3 billion of those sales. Excluding that boost, revenue was up about 7 percent from the $12.35 billion Pfizer reported in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Pfizer said net income amounted to $767 million, nearly triple the $266 million it earned a year earlier, when results were hurt by a whopping $2.3 billion charge to settle federal allegations Pfizer improperly marketed some of its drugs. That profit is equal to earnings per share of 10 cents, or 49 cents after excluding one-time items.

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Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting Pfizer to earn a penny more, at 50 cents per share.

Pfizer bought Wyeth for $68 billion in October. The deal was Pfizer’s biggest acquisition ever and the most expensive of several big deals last year as the pharmaceutical industry consolidates to cut costs because of intensifying generic competition and a limited number of new blockbuster drugs.

“We are pleased with the rapid pace of integration and our ability to quickly realize the benefits of our combined operation,” Pfizer Chief Executive Jeff Kindler said in a statement. “Our results this quarter clearly demonstrate the ability of our colleagues to remain focused and deliver solid operational performance.”

The company said that it expects revenue this year to range from $67 billion to $69 billion. It forecast earnings per share of 95 cents to $1.10, or a range of $2.10 to $2.20 excluding one-time items

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