Pfizer posts earnings beat, raises 2019 profit forecast

Pfizer posts earnings beat, raises 2019 profit forecast

REUTERS: Pfizer Inc on Tuesday beat Wall Street estimates for quarterly profit and slightly raised its earnings forecast for the year, as the largest U.S. drugmaker reined in costs and recorded higher sales of cancer drug Ibrance and pneumonia vaccine Prevnar.

Shares of the company rose 1 percent to US$39.98 in trading before the bell.

To push growth and reduce bureaucracy, Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla has ordered a reorganisation of Pfizer into three businesses since taking over in January. Analysts are impatiently awaiting the changes that will spur growth for the company in the next few years.

Pfizer expects mid-single-digit operational revenue growth from post-2020 through 2025, said Bourla.

Meanwhile, the company is relying on its growth drivers such as Ibrance and Prevnar.

Ibrance brought in sales of US$1.13 billion during the quarter, up 21.4 percent from a year earlier, just ahead of analysts' estimates of US$1.12 billion. Prevnar raked in US$1.49 billion, beating the average estimate of US$1.39 billion.

"Overall we think these results are good enough given the pressure the stock has felt in recent weeks, but probably do not do much to change the fundamental debates around the stock," Credit Suisse analyst Vamil Divan said.

Pfizer is under pressure as one of its biggest drugs, Lyrica, faces generic competition. The company, therefore, has been investing in cancer treatments and gene therapies, and expects to gain approval for a new heart drug, touted as a potential blockbuster, later this year.

It has also signed a joint venture agreement with Britain's GlaxoSmithKline Plc to form the world's biggest consumer health business, with brands such as Advil and Chapstick, by the second half of the year.

Pfizer pushed its 2019 adjusted earnings per share forecast marginally higher to between US$2.83 and US$2.93 , from a prior estimate of US$2.82 to US$2.92. It also reiterated its full-year revenue target of US$52 billion to US$54 billion.

Excluding special items, the company earned 85 cents per share, beating analysts' estimate of 75 cents.

Net income rose 9 percent to US$3.88 billion, or 68 cents per share, in the first quarter.

Revenue rose 1.6 percent to US$13.12 billion, ahead of estimates of US$12.99 billion.

(Reporting by Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru; Editing by Patrick Graham and Shinjini Ganguli)

Source: Reuters