(Reuters) - Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (BMY.N) reported lower first-quarter earnings, in line with forecasts, thanks to unexpectedly lower taxes and sharply higher sales of its treatments for melanoma, leukemia and diabetes.
The company on Thursday said it earned $609 million, or 37 cents per share, in the quarter. That compared with $1.1 billion, or 64 cents per share in the year-earlier period.
Excluding special items, Bristol-Myers earned 41 cents per share, matching the average analyst forecast, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
On that basis, the effective tax rate was 11 percent, compared with 26.7 percent a year earlier. Wall Street had been expecting a tax rate in about the 15 percent range. The lower tax rate was due to a new federal tax credit for research and development.
Global sales plunged 27 percent to $3.83 billion, coming in slightly below Wall Street expectations of $3.88 billion, as the company’s Avapro blood pressure drug and Plavix blood clot preventer faced Competition from cheaper generics. Plavix had been the world’s second-biggest-selling medicine before losing U.S. patent protection last May.
Reporting By Ransdell Pierson; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick