Tags: Merck | Profit | Diabetes | Drug

Merck Profit Beats Analyst Estimates on Diabetes Drug Sales

Thursday, 02 February 2012 01:26 PM

Merck & Co., the second-largest U.S. drugmaker, reported fourth-quarter profit that topped analyst estimates on higher sales of diabetes medicines. The company forecast 2012 earnings that matched estimates.

Net income was $1.51 billion, or 49 cents a share, compared with a loss of $531 million, or 17 cents, a year earlier when Merck took a $1.7 billion charge to write down the value of an experimental blood thinner, the Whitehouse Station, New Jersey- based company said today in a statement. Earnings excluding one- time items of 97 cents a share beat by 2 cents the average of 18 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Merck forecast full-year earnings excluding one-time items of $3.75 to $3.85 a share, in range of analyst estimates of $3.84. The company trimmed jobs to reduce costs as it prepares for generic competition to the asthma medication Singulair, which loses patent protection in August. The company is testing drugs for insomnia, osteoporosis, and raising good cholesterol. It introduced a hepatitis C drug last year and is working on another.

“Overall performance for the quarter looks OK, it is nothing heroic,” said Seamus Fernandez, an analyst at Leerink Swann & Co. in Boston, in a phone interview before the results were announced. “The key historic drivers all look solid.”

Revenue rose 1.7 percent to $12.3 billion. Analysts had estimated $12.5 billion.

Sales of Januvia for diabetes rose 42 percent to $960 million. Revenue of the company’s human papillomavirus vaccine Gardasil increased 24 percent to $274 million.

In July, Merck said it would eliminate another 12,000 to 13,000 jobs by 2015, expanding a restructuring program that cut 11,500 positions in 2010.

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Thursday, 02 February 2012 01:26 PM
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