November 25, 2020

Merck’s Quarterly Profit Surges on Sales and Cost Savings

The results beat Wall Street expectations and suggest drug sales and cost savings from acquiring Schering-Plough were starting to pay off.

Merck shares rose 18 cents Friday to close at $35.95. Net income in the quarter was $1.04 billion, or 34 cents a share, up from $299 million, or 9 cents a share, in 2010’s first quarter.

Revenue edged up 1 percent to $11.58 billion. That includes several billion dollars from products added in the Schering-Plough acquisition in November 2009. Excluding numerous one-time items, net income was $2.86 billion, or 92 cents a share.

On that basis, analysts had forecast earnings of 84 cents a share and revenue of $11.38 billion. Analysts typically exclude one-time items in their estimates.

The $1.82 billion in net charges included $1.58 billion in merger-related write-downs on the value of assets and research, $126 million in restructuring costs and a $500 million payment to settle arbitration with Johnson Johnson over the rights to two drugs. A year ago, Merck had charges totaling $2.31 billion.

Merck, based in Whitehouse Station, N.J., raised the bottom end of its 2011 profit forecast by 2 cents, predicting $3.66 to $3.76 a share, or $2.04 to $2.39 including one-time charges.

Production costs fell 22 percent to $4.06 billion, partly because Merck has sold some factories.

A Jeffries Company analyst, Ian Hilliker, wrote to investors that the higher revenue and lower-than-expected costs gave Merck a strong “earnings beat.”

Top-performing drugs included Singulair and Januvia, plus some drugs acquired with Schering: the allergy spray Nasonex and Remicade for immune disorders. Their growth was partly offset by a $356 million drop in revenue from two former blockbuster heart drugs, Cozaar and Hyzaar, caused by generic competition.

Januvia and Janumet, a pill that combines Januvia with the generic diabetes drug metformin, had combined quarterly sales that topped $1 billion for the first time, up 47 percent.

Total pharmaceutical revenue rose 2 percent to $9.82 billion. Two units Merck acquired with Schering, animal health and consumer health, also performed well. Animal health revenue rose 7 percent and consumer health 6 percent, on strong sales of Claritin allergy pills and Coppertone sun care products.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=09eac9cc0ab8e507763c4b10818d1f30

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