April 30, 2010 / 1:50 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 2-Allergan profit beats forecasts, shares rise

* Q1, ex-items, $0.65/shr, vs $0.60/shr forecast

* Sales grow 11.2 pct, meeting expectations

* Adjusts full-year profit view slightly

* Shares rise 3.3 percent

(Adds analyst comment, product sales, byline)

By Ransdell Pierson

NEW YORK, April 30 (Reuters) - Allergan Inc reported on Friday better-than-expected first-quarter earnings on strong sales of its Botox anti-wrinkle drug and medical devices, and slightly raised the low end of its 2010 profit forecast despite costs of U.S. healthcare reforms.

Allergan (AGN.N), whose shares rose 3.3 percent, said it earned $168 million, or 55 cents per share. That compared with $45 million, or 15 cents per share, in the year-earlier period, when the company took restructuring charges.

Excluding special items, Allergan earned 65 cents per share. Analysts on average had expected 60 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Global company sales rose 11.2 percent to $1.11 billion, in line with Wall Street forecasts.

Allergan issued a new 2010 profit forecast of $3.11 per share to $3.15 per share, which includes estimated costs of recently approved healthcare reforms. The reforms require drugmakers to give bigger price rebates to patients in the federal Medicaid insurance program for the poor and will impose additional costs next year.

The company in February predicted full-year EPS of $3.09 to $3.15. Its slightly improved forecast stands in contrast to some large U.S. drugmakers that have cut their 2010 forecasts in recent weeks due to expected healthcare reform costs.

Botox sales rose 11 percent in the quarter to $331 million, helped by a recovering economy that allows more patients to afford the treatments that are not typically covered by insurers.

Sales of prescription eye drugs rose 8.1 percent to $512 million, while revenue from medical devices — including breast implants and facial fillers — rose 18 percent to $199 million.

“With the economy improving, we expect Allergan’s sales to increase and shares to appreciate,” Lazard Capital Markets analyst Sean Lavin said in a research note. He attributed the company’s profit beat in the first quarter to surprisingly better profit margins.

Allergan shares were up $2.06 to $64.04 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Ransdell Pierson, editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Gunna Dickson)

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