Hospira Shares Rise After Stronger-Than-Expected Earnings

Hospiraposted a 78% increase in quarterly earnings as higher sales of its hospital products boosted profits.

Hospira shares rose as much as 10.7% to a six-month high, following the release of the stronger-than-expected results.

Fourth-quarter net earnings were $47.4 million, or 30 cents a share, compared with $26.6 million, or 16 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding special items, Lake Forest, Illinois-based Hospira earned 43 cents a share. On that basis, analysts' average forecast was 38 cents, according to Thomson Financial.

Quarterly sales rose 9.3% to $706.5 million.

The company estimates 2007 net sales of $3.40 billion to $3.48 billion, up from $2.69 billion in 2006. Excluding sales from newly acquired Mayne Pharma Ltd., sales are expected to rise 3% to 5%.

The company estimated per-share earnings of $2.11 to $2.16, excluding special items related to the Mayne acquisition.

Hospira closed the acquisition of Mayne, an Australia-based specialty injectable pharmaceutical company, earlier this month. The acquisition is expected to double Hospira's international sales to nearly 30% of Hospira's total sales and expand its presence in oncology.