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Hospira Profit Down As Tax Benefit Comes Off Books

From Associated Press (April 27, 2010)

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Hospira Inc., a drug and medical device maker, said Tuesday its profit fell 14 percent in the first quarter compared with results inflated by a large tax benefit a year ago.

But the company’s adjusted earnings and revenue topped Wall Street estimates and it raised its outlook.

Hospira earned $141.7 million, or 84 cents per share, in the three months ended March 31, down from $165.5 million, or $1.03 per share, a year ago.

In the first quarter of 2009, Hospira received a tax benefit worth 57 cents per share.

Excluding one-time items from the latest results, the company earned 94 cents per share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected a profit of 72 cents per share and typically exclude one-time items from their estimates.

Revenue rose 17 percent to $1.01 billion from $859.7 million. Analysts expected lower revenue of $916.1 million.

The company said sales of specialty injectable drugs climbed 42 percent to $611.4 million. Hospira said most of the growth came from its generic version of the cancer drug Eloxatin, and its sedative Precedex.

But Hospira is about to stop selling its generic version of Eloxatin. The branded version of the drug is made by Sanofi-Aventis of France, which had sued Hospira and other generics makers for infringing on its patents. Earlier this month, Hospira agreed to stop selling its generic on June 30. It will resume sales in August 2012.

Sales of other drugs fell 14 percent to $146.1 million. Revenue from medical devices declined 4 percent to $250.1 million.

Hospira raised its profit forecast for the year, and now expects net income of $3.35 to $3.45 per share, excluding restructuring and amortization costs, among other items. It said sales will rise 4 to 6 percent this year, including a one-percent gain from favorable foreign currency exchange. That implies a total of $4.03 billion to $4.2 billion.

In February, Hospira called for a profit of $3.25 to $3.35 per share excluding special items. It said revenue would be about equal to the $3.88 billion it reported in 2009.

Analysts are currently expecting a profit of $3.36 per share for the year and revenue of $3.95 billion.


Posted: April 2010