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Bristol-Myers 4Q Profit Rises On Sales Boost, Gain

From Associated Press (January 28, 2010)

TRENTON, N.J.--Stronger sales of nearly all its medicines and a multibillion-dollar, one-time gain brought drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. a huge jump in fourth-quarter profit, the company said Thursday.

The maker of blockbuster blood thinner Plavix said its net income in the October-December quarter was $8.03 billion, or $4.06 per share. That’s mainly because Bristol-Myers sold off its interest in infant formula maker Mead Johnson in December for an after-tax gain of $7.2 billion, or $3.62 per share.

The sale was the last step in a strategy to transform Bristol-Myers into a pure biopharmaceutical company. Bristol now has about $9.9 billion available for deals.

In the fourth quarter, the company’s sales totaled $5.03 billion, up 11 percent from $4.54 billion in 2008’s fourth quarter. Sales were led by double-digit jumps in sales for Plavix and HIV treatments Reyataz and Sustiva. Only cancer drug Erbitux, which Bristol-Myers markets jointly with Eli Lilly & Co., saw a dip in sales.

That’s partly because Bristol’s medicines are all for serious, even life-threatening conditions, so patients aren’t likely to cut back on them even in a recession.

Bristol posted income from continuing operations of $928 million, or 47 cents per share, excluding several other one-time items. Those included charges for outsourcing, payments to research partners and a $100 million charitable donation, plus a $288 million gain from selling the company’s business marketing its mature brands in India.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had been expecting adjusted earnings per share of 41 cents, or 6 cents less, on sales of $4.99 billion.

For the full year, Bristol reported net income of $10.61 billion, or $5.34 per share, on revenue of $18.81 billion. In 2008, the company posted net income of $5.25 billion, or $2.62 per share, on revenue of $17.72 billion.

Last August, Bristol-Myers spent $2.1 billion to buy biotech company Medarex for its antibody technology, used to make biologic drugs that can fight cancer or immunologic disorders, a deal praised by some analysts as visionary.

In premarket trading, shares of Bristol-Myers rose 30 cents to $24.60 from Wednesday’s close of $24.30.

Posted: January 2010