Strong Sales Boost Bristol-Myers Profit


Bristol-Myers Squibbon Thursday posted a 29 percent jump in second-quarter profit due to higher sales of several key products and significant cost-cutting that overcame effects of the strong dollar.

The maker of blood thinner Plavix, the world's second-bestselling medicine, and psychiatric drug Abilify said its net income was $983 million, or 49 cents per share.

That compares with $764 million, or 38 cents per share, a year earlier.

New York-based Bristol-Myers said revenue rose 3.5 percent to $5.4 billion from $5.2 billion in the second quarter of 2008.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting, on average, earnings per share of 47 cents and revenue of $5.3 billion.

The strong performance comes after the world's No. 15 drugmaker last night announced a $2.1 billion deal to buy Medarex, which owns antibody technology used to create drugs.

Sales in the Bristol-Myers pharmaceutical division rose 4 percent, to $4.67 billion.

Revenue from the company's share of the Mead Johnson nutrition business was flat at $719 million.

"We are well on track to continue delivering on our growth commitments," Chief Executive James M. Cornelius said in a statement. "Our business performance and financial strength position us well to invest in further opportunities for long-term growth."

Cornelius said the Medarex deal is another example of the Bristol-Myers strategy, dubbed String of Pearls, to acquire biotechnology drugs and companies and transform its technological capabilities.

Bristol-Myers Earnings

Bristol-Myers lowered the high end of its 2009 profit forecast, sending a new range of $1.58 to $1.68 per share, compared with the prior $1.58 to $1.73.

Excluding one-time charges, the company raised its forecast slightly, to $1.95 to $2.05, from $1.85 to $2.

While many of its competitors have seen flat or down revenue this quarter because of unfavorable exchange rates, Bristol-Myers said they only reduced total revenue by 5 percent.

In addition, Bristol-Myers only gets a little more than one-third of its sales overseas, while many global drugmakers draw a roughly half their revenue from foreign countries, giving currency rates a bigger impact.

For the first six months, Bristol-Myers posted net income of $1.62 billion, or 81 cents per share. That was up 14 percent from $1.43 billion, or 71 cents a share, in the first half of 2008.

Shares in Bristol-Myers Squibb rose 12 cents to $20.41 in early morning trade on Thursday after the Medarex announcement late Wednesday. Click Here for Real-Time Bristol-Myers Squibb Quotes