* Sepracor to cut 20 percent of workforce
* Sees cost saving of $210 million
* Posts 4th quarter EPS $0.77
* Share rise 17 percent
NEW YORK, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Sepracor Inc SEPR.O, maker of the Lunesta sleep drug, said on Wednesday it would cut about 20 percent of its workforce, or 530 jobs, in an effort to save some $210 million in expenses, and its shares jumped 17 percent.
The company said most of the cuts would come from field-based positions, leaving it with a sales force of about 1,325 after the restructuring moves.
It said it would also eliminate some 410 contract sales positions.
“This is a challenging economic time for the country and the pharmaceutical industry, and it has become necessary for us to proactively adapt to these changes so that we can continue to be competitive in this rapidly changing environment,” Chief Executive Adrian Adams said in a statement.
The Marlborough, Massachusetts-based company also reported fourth-quarter net profit of $88.4 million, or 77 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $5 million, or 5 cents per share, a year ago.
Sales of the Lunesta insomnia treatment for the quarter rose to $161.9 million from $148.9 million a year ago.
Total revenue for the quarter rose 8.7 percent to $369.7 million, topping analyst expectations of $353.5 million.
Sepracor said it expects 2009 earnings, excluding items, of $2.10 to $2.70 per share on revenue of $1.15 billion to $1.25 billion. That is below Wall Street estimates of $1.32 billion, according to Reuters Estimates.
But investors cheered the cost-cutting measures, sending Sepracor shares to $16 in after-hours trading from their Nasdaq close at $13.63. (Reporting by Bill Berkrot, editing by Leslie Gevirtz)