Pfizer Earnings Fall as Lipitor Sales Weaken; Shares Fall

Pfizer said its net income fell in the latest period as sales declined after the company lost its exclusivity on the cholesterol drug Lipitor at the end of November.


The largest U.S. drugmaker said on Tuesday that it earned $1.79 billion, or 24 cents per share, in the first quarter. That compared with $2.2 billion, or 28 cents per share, in the year-earlier period when results were hurt by a litigation charge and costs of revamping

Excluding special items, Pfizer earned 58 cents per share in the latest period.

Analysts, on average, had expected 56 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters. However, a Pfizer spokesperson said the results are not directly comparable due to the sale of their nutrition unit to Nestle earlier this month.

The company's revenue fell 7 percent to $15.41 billion, a bit below Wall Street expectations of $15.47 billion. Sales of Lipitor fell 42 percent to $1.4 billion.

Pfizer said it planned to use all of the proceeds from the sale of the baby formula business to share repurchases and possibly other uses.

In the meantime, Pfizer said it still intended to decide this year whether to divest its animal health unit, with any separation of the business taking place between this July and July 2013. The unit's sales rose 4 percent in the quarter to $1.03 billion.

Should it part with the business, Pfizer has said it would probably be in the form of an IPO, a route that would avoid hefty taxes.

Pfizer cut its estimate for this year's earnings and revenue. The company now expects to earn between $1.23 and $1.38 a share, or an adjusted $2.14 to $2.24 a share.

Previously, the company expected to earn $1.37 to $1.52, or $2.20 to $2.30 a share on an adjusted basis.

Pfizer now estimates revenue will be between $58 billion and $60 billion, down from its earlier estimate of $60.5 billion to $$62.5 billion.

Analysts on average had estimated the company would earn $2.26 a share on revenue of $62.13 billion this year.

Shares were down in pre-market trading.

Get real-time quotes for Pfizer here.

- Reuters contributed to this story