Pfizer Quadruples Profit in Q4

However the company sees a tough year ahead.

Pfizer, the world's largest drugmaker, reported fourth-quarter profit of $2.9 billion. Revenues rose 6% in the October-December period to $17.6 billion.

Pfizer said that revenues were mostly favorably impacted by its October 15, 2009, takeover of Wyeth, whose legacy products contributed $2.3 billion to total sales.

For all of the year, profit fell 4% to $8.3 billion, in line with expectations.

Revenues in 2010 climbed 36% to $67.8 billion compared with the prior year, said the maker of best-selling cholesterol drug Lipitor and erectile dysfunction treatment Viagra.

"I am pleased with our solid financial performance again this quarter and this year despite continued challenging market conditions," said Ian Read, Pfizer's new CEO.

Read, who took the helm of the drugmaker in December, said that Pfizer was lowering its 2012 revenue target and expanding its share buyback program. He said the board had approved an additional share buyback program for up to $5 billion, which increases the total program to $9 billion.

"During 2011, we anticipate repurchasing approximately $5 billion of our common stock, with the remaining authorized amount available in 2012 and beyond," he said. "These repurchases are not expected to constrain our ability to continue dividend increases or to pursue bolt-on acquisitions," he added.

Looking ahead, Read said the company planned to reduce spending on research and development to better weather a challenging environment, which includes the expiration of its patent on Lipitor in many major markets later this year.

"We believe that the planned increase in share repurchases and the decrease in research and development spending will serve to provide a greater degree of certainty and a more clearly defined path for us to achieve our 2012 adjusted diluted EPS target of between $2.25 and $2.35."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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