* Fourth quarter non-GAAP EPS $1.42 vs $1.40 forecast
* Revenue $5.43 billion vs $5.19 billion forecast
* Raises dividend by 5 percent to 1.21 shekels
By Tova Cohen
TEL AVIV, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Teva Pharmaceutical Industries’ fourth quarter earnings rose 8 percent, beating analysts’ estimates, on stronger sales from specialty medicines and U.S. generic drugs.
Teva, the world’s No. 1 generic drugmaker and Israel’s biggest company, earned $1.42 per share excluding one-time items in the quarter, beating forecasts and compared with $1.32 a year earlier. Revenue rose 3 percent to $5.43 billion.
Teva was forecast to earn $1.40 a share excluding items on revenue of $5.19 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Shares in Teva were up 2.7 percent in Tel Aviv but had eased 0.6 percent in New York by 1530 GMT. The stock is up 12 percent so far this year and rose 7.3 percent in 2013.
“Generics were ... supported by several large U.S. opportunities that don’t have duration,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Randall Stanicky said.
Revenue from specialty drugs came in above expectations helped by Copaxone, where the outlook is uncertain, he said.
Acting Chief Executive Eyal Desheh said, “During 2013, we had several key product launches, driven by a strong pipeline, which will continue to bear notable results in 2014.”
Desheh will be replaced next week by turnaround specialist Erez Vigodman, who is tasked with implementing costs cuts and reducing reliance on copycat medicines. Profits of generic drugs are waning as competition grows and opportunities fade.
Sales of best-selling multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone, which account for about 20 percent of sales and 50 percent of profit, rose 8 percent to $1.14 billion in the quarter.
Last week Teva received U.S. regulatory approval for its three-times-a-week Copaxone, which it hopes will strengthen its position ahead of competition, having lost its patent fight against Novartis AG and Momenta Pharmaceuticals Inc who are developing generic forms of Copaxone.
It also lost a patent fight over the drug with Mylan Inc and Natco Pharma Ltd.
Teva is planning to convert 57 percent of patients to the 40 mg dose injected three times a week from a daily dose of 20 mg by year end.
Teva reaffirmed its outlook for 2014 from December when it forecast earnings per share of $4.20-$4.50 on revenue of $19.3 billion-$20.3 billion if rivals are allowed to launch cheaper versions of Copaxone. It sees EPS of $4.80-$5.10 on revenue of $19.8 billion-$20.8 billion without competition.
Teva’s U.S. generic sales rose 14 percent in the quarter to $1.2 billion due to several product launches in the third and fourth quarters of 2013. European generic sales fell 2 percent to $940 million due to a contraction of the market in France, partly offset by higher revenue in the UK and Italy.
Teva declared a quarterly dividend of 1.21 shekels (34 cents) a share, up from 1.15 shekels in third quarter.
Desheh told a conference call of analysts that Teva would examine a further increase in the dividend in 2014 but this would depend on what happens with Copaxone competition.