Merck Earnings Top Views, Raises Year Forecast


Drugmaker Merck said Friday that its third-quarter profit soared from results a year ago that were weighed down by huge acquisition and legal charges.


The results beat Wall Street estimates, and Merck shares rose 2 percent to $35 in premarket trading.

The maker of diabetes drug Januvia and Singulair for asthma and allergies said net income climbed to $1.69 billion, or 55 cents per share, the July-September period. That's up from $342 million, or 11 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding acquisition and restructuring charges totaling $1.22 billion after taxes, or 39 cents, adjusted income was up 10 percent to $2.91 billion, or 94 cents per share. The charges were mostly related to its November 2009 purchase of fellow drugmaker Schering-Plough Corp. for $49 billion.

The adjusted earnings were 3 cents per share higher than the 91 cents per share expected by analysts surveyed by FactSet, who typically exclude one-time items.

Revenue rose 8 percent to $12.02 billion from $11.12 billion. The analysts expected revenue of $11.62 billion.

The company raised the lower end of its 2011 forecast, to a new range of $3.72 to $3.76 per share, or $2.03 to $2.20 per share excluding one-time items. Analysts expect $3.73 per share for the year.

Prescription drug sales totaled $10.35 billion, led by strong sales of Singulair, Januvia and combination diabetes drug Janumet, the HIV drug Isentress and the Gardasil and Zostavax vaccines.

Sales of animal health products jumped 20 percent to $826 million. Consumer health sales edged up 3 percent to $421 million.

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