Pfizer Doubles Profit on Strong International Sales

Pharmaceutical firm reaffirms 2008 outlook.

U.S. pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer said Wednesday its second-quarter net profit more than doubled due to surging international sales and reaffirmed its 2008 outlook. Net profit in the April-June period was $2.776 billion, a whopping 119% higher than a year ago, or 41 cents per share. Excluding exceptional items, earnings per share were 55 cents, slightly better than analysts' consensus forecast of 54 cents. Revenue rose 9% to $12.1 billion from the same period in 2007, led by international sales underpinned by a weak dollar, the company said. "Revenues reflect the positive impact of foreign exchange, which increased revenues by approximately $800 million, or 7%, as well as the solid performance of many key products," the company said. Sales abroad leaped 18% from a year ago, more than offsetting a 2% decline in the United States, and represented 61% of the group's total revenue. Sales of Pfizer's blockbuster anti-cholesterol drug Lipitor rose 9% to $3 billion. The company said the domestic revenue declines were mainly due to the loss of U.S. exclusivity for Zyrtec, an allergy medication it ceased selling in late January 2008, and for colorectal-cancer drug Camptosar, which it stopped selling in February 2008. Pfizer said other factors contributing to the strong quarterly performance included lower restructuring charges from cost-reduction initiatives and the savings generated by those initiatives, as well as income tax adjustments. The company confirmed its outlook for the 2008 full year: sales between $47 billion and $49 billion and earnings per share between $1.73 and $1.88. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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