* Q4 EPS 47 cents/shr, vs. 44 cents view
* Q4 sales $15.1 bln, vs. $14.37 bln view
* Pfizer shares rise 1.5 percent
By Ransdell Pierson
Jan 29 Pfizer Inc on Tuesday reported
better-than-expected fourth-quarter results, helped by
rebounding sales in emerging markets, but the drugmaker forecast
that 2013 profits would be weaker than Wall Street has
Pfizer, the largest U.S. drugmaker, said quarterly earnings
quadrupled to $6.32 billion, or 86 cents per share, as it
recorded a gain from selling its nutritional products business
to Swiss food groups Nestle SA for about $12 billion
In the year-earlier quarter, it posted a profit of $1.44
billion, or 19 cents per share.
Excluding special items, Pfizer earned 47 cents per share in
the quarter. Analysts, on average, expected 44 cents per share,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Global company sales fell 7 percent to $15.1 billion, hurt
by generic competition for its Lipitor cholesterol fighter, but
came in well above expectations of $14.37 billion.
Pfizer forecast full-year 2013 earnings of $2.20 to $2.30
per share, excluding special items. The average analyst estimate
was $2.29 per share, according to Thomson Reuters.
"Pfizer's 2013 forecast is a little lighter than expected,
but won't cause me to lose sleep," said Judson Clark, an analyst
with Edward Jones.
He said the forecast would have been 2 cents per share
higher, and roughly in line with expectations, if not for
expenses related to a planned spinoff of its animal health
business into a new company called Zoetis.
Clark said he has a "buy" rating on the Pfizer shares
because of its strong pipeline of experimental drugs.
Pfizer is on a roll with recent approvals of a handful of
new products that could help it rebound from plunging sales of
They include a blood clot preventer called Eliquis -
co-developed with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co and approved
in late December - that analysts believe could eventually claim
annual sales of $5 billion or more. Xeljanz, a pill for
rheumatoid arthritis deemed likely to generate annual sales of
more than $2 billion, was approved by U.S. regulators in
Pfizer's shares have risen 26 percent in the last year,
compared with 19 percent for the ARCA Pharmaceutical Index of
large U.S. and European drugmakers, largely because of the
turnaround in its long-anemic drug pipeline.
Investors have also warmed to Pfizer because of its ongoing
efforts to spin off non-pharmaceutical operations and return
much of the proceeds to investors in the form of bigger
dividends and repurchases of common shares.
On the heels of selling its nutrition business, Pfizer is
expected within days to raise more than $2.2 billion through an
initial public offering that will separate its animal health
unit into a new company called Zoetis.
Pfizer in November approved an additional $10 billion in
share repurchases, after having repurchased almost $6 billion in
shares in 2012 through an earlier $10 billion authorization.
Fourth quarter company sales in emerging markets rose 17
percent to $2.65 billion, in contrast with a slight decline in
the prior quarter.
Global Lipitor sales plunged 71 percent in the quarter to
$584 million, but that was offset by strong sales of other
Sales of its Prevnar vaccine against pneumococcal bacteria
jumped 19 percent to $993 million, helping ease concerns about
weak sales in earlier quarters. Sales of Celebrex, used to ease
pain from arthritis, rose 12 percent to $750 million.
Pfizer's shares rose 2.3 percent, or about 63 cents, to
$27.45 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.