Is Pfizer Still Stuck in its Lipitor Slump?

Analysts’ predictions set Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) fourth-quarter earnings at 44 cents per share. But the drug maker beat expectations and reported Tuesday that earnings had quadrupled to $6.32 billion, or 85 cents per share, pushed upward by the sale of its of its nutritional products business to Nestle (NSRGY.PK). The results improved dramatically from the fourth quarter last year, when Pfizer generated earnings of only 19 cents per share.

However, excluding restructuring, acquisition-related charges, and other items, adjusted earnings were 47 cents per share, down from 49 cents per share in the year-ago quarter.

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Revenue for the three-month period came in at $15.07 billion, a decrease of 6.6 percent from the previous year. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had estimated $14.38 billion. Pfizer’s revenue in the United States fell by 9 percent, pulled down by the loss of exclusivity of Lipitor in November 2011 and Geodon in March 2012. But last quarter’s results were worse. The generic version of the drug took a large bite out of Pfizer’s third-quarter profit; sales decreased in the United States by 18 percent…
Sales figures for Pfizer’s numerous divisions varied. The biopharmaceutical segment dropped 8.8 percent, while animal-health sales rose 5.9 percent and consumer healthcare grew 16 percent.

These results show Pfizer partway through a transformation. As the company looks to shed some of its businesses in order to narrow its focus on human pharmaceuticals, it has divested several of its units. Pfizer sold its infant nutrition unit for $11.85 billion at the end of November, and its animal-medicine business is set to go public on Friday. The initial public offering is expected to raise $2.2 billion, and will be the largest deal from a U.S. company since Facebook’s (NASDAQ:FB) IPO last May, according to The Wall Street Journal.

For the full year, the company has projected earnings below what analysts expected. Pfizer said that earnings will be between $2.20 and $2.30 per share on revenue of $56.2 billion to $58.2 billion in 2013. Analysts estimated earnings of $2.29 and revenue of $57.56 billion.

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