AstraZeneca Tops Earnings Forecasts as Sales Fall

by Christopher Freeburn | July 26, 2012 11:25 am

British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN[1]) announced that it earned $1.61 billion during the second quarter[2], down 24% from $2.11 billion in the same period last year.

The drug maker said that revenue for the quarter dropped to $6.66 billion, down 21% from $8.43 billion in 2011.

The results provided mixed news for Wall Street, which had predicted $1.45 billion in earnings on sales of $6.86 billion, Dow Jones noted.

The drug-maker reiterated its previous earnings guidance of between $5.85 and $6.15 a share for the year.

Having spent $1.85 billion on share repurchases since January, the company said it planned to buy back a total $4.5 billion of shares this year. It also indicated that its first interim dividend will be 90 cents a share, far less than last year’s dividend of $2.80 a share.

Company officials noted that the expiration of its patents for three popular drugs had cut earnings by 15% as competitors rushed generic versions to market.

Revenue in the U.S. dropped 29%, while Western Europe fell 20% and worldwide revenues dipped 12%. Sales in emerging markets edged up just 1% during the quarter and the company does not anticipate significant growth in those markets for the remainder of the year.

AstraZeneca continues to search for a permanent CEO, following the departure of David Brennan in June[3]. CFO Simon Lowth is serving as interim CEO while the company considers candidates for the top position.

Shares of AstraZeneca rose fractionally in Thursday morning trading in New York.

Endnotes:
  1. AZN: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=AZN
  2. during the second quarter: http://www.foxbusiness.com/news/2012/07/26/astrazeneca-keeps-outlook-despite-another-earnings-fall/
  3. following the departure of David Brennan in June: http://investorplace.com/2012/04/astrazeneca-ceo-resigns-shares-drop/

Source URL: http://investorplace.com/2012/07/astrazeneca-tops-earnings-forecasts-as-sales-fall/
Short URL: http://invstplc.com/1fSjzlm