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Sales up, 4th-quarter net falls for Bristol-Myers

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 8:06am
Linda A. Johnson - AP Business Writer - Associated Press

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. reported a 21.5 percent drop in its fourth-quarter profit despite higher drug sales, because the year-ago results had a $411 million tax benefit from writing off a failed experimental medicine.

But the drugmaker's adjusted results easily beat Wall Street expectations, and the quarter was dominated by news of a $4.1 billion planned deal. Its shares rose in premarket trading.

As the next step in its ongoing makeover — from a producer of drugs for the masses to a creator of specialty drugs for complex disorders — Bristol-Myers agreed to sell to partner AstraZeneca PLC its share of their diabetes medicine business by March 31. Two drugs they developed were just approved this month: Farxiga in the U.S. and combination diabetes drug Xigduo in the European Union.

On Friday, New York-based Bristol-Myers reported net income of $726 million, or 44 cents per share, down from $925 million, or 56 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, adjusted income was $842 million, or 51 cents per share. That was 8 cents better than analysts surveyed by FactSet had expected.

Revenue totaled $4.44 billion, up 6 percent. Analysts expected $4.31 billion.

Revenue was driven by higher sales for HIV drug Sustiva, hepatitis B treatment Baraclude and rheumatoid arthritis drug Orencia. Its top seller, schizophrenia drug Abilify, saw sales slip 22 percent to $635 million because of a renegotiated revenue-sharing deal with a partner.

Generic competition has decimated sales of its former blockbusters, blood thinner Plavix and blood-pressure drug Avapro. And Eliquis, part of a new generation of clot-preventing drugs that Bristol-Myers and partner Pfizer Inc. got approved a year ago, brought Bristol just $71 million.

For all of 2013, Bristol-Myers earned net income of $2.56 billion, or $1.54 per share, on revenue of $16.39 billion.

It forecast 2014 adjusted earnings per share of $1.65 to $1.80; analysts expect $1.78.

Its shares rose 90 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $54.85 in premarket trading about two hours ahead of the market opening.

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Follow Linda A. Johnson at http://twitter.com/LindaJ_onPharma

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