Drugmaker Pfizer's 2nd quarter profit sinks 79 percent but still beats analyst expectations


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This May 4, 2014 photo shows the Pfizer logo on the exterior of a former Pfizer factory, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. The pharmaceutical giant reports quarterly financial results on Tuesday, July 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)


NEW YORK — Pfizer's second-quarter earnings plunged 79 percent from last year, when the world's second-largest drugmaker booked a business spinoff gain of more than $10 billion. The latest results still edged analyst expectations.

The New York company said Tuesday it earned $2.91 billion, or 45 cents per share, in the quarter. That compares with earnings of $14.1 billion, or $1.98 per share, last year. Adjusted earnings totaled 58 cents per share.

Analysts expected, on average, earnings of 57 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Revenue slipped 2 percent to $12.77 billion, while analysts forecast $12.47 billion, on average.

Pfizer Inc. is best known for creating medicines for the masses, including the erectile dysfunction pill Viagra, the Prevnar vaccine against pneumonia and related infections, and the now-generic cholesterol fighter Lipitor, which was once the world's best-selling drug.

Chairman and CEO Ian Read has been streamlining Pfizer to reduce costs and free up money for research on disorders with limited treatments or in areas where the company has expertise. Over the last three years, Pfizer has divested assets outside its core business.

It sold its capsule-making operation and its nutrition business for a total of nearly $14 billion. Then it spun off its animal health business as a new company in June 2013.

That's when it divested its remaining 80 percent stake in the new company, called Zoetis Inc., receiving an after-tax gain of $10.6 billion.

Pfizer also booked a gain of $1.35 -billion in last year's quarter from a patent litigation settlement with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.

Among Pfizer's top selling drugs, global sales of the pain and fibromyalgia treatment Lyrica climbed 16 percent in this year's quarter to $1.32 billion, while revenue from its Prevnar family of vaccines rose 14 percent to $1.1 billion.

Restructuring and acquisition-related costs fell 56 percent this year for the drugmaker to $81 million from $183 million.

The drugmaker also once again reaffirmed its forecast for 2014 adjusted earnings of between $2.20 and $2.30 per share. Analysts expect $2.24 per share, on average.

In the latest quarter, British drugmaker AstraZeneca rejected a $119 billion buyout proposal from Pfizer, which would have amounted to the largest deal in the industry's history. Besides gaining access to AstraZeneca's drugs and pipeline, Pfizer wanted to move its legal headquarters to England to get a lower tax rate than it faces in the U.S.

Pfizer shares rose 16 cents to $30.26 in premarket trading Tuesday. The stock had slipped nearly 2 percent so far this year as of Monday's market close. Meanwhile, the Standard & Poor's 500 index has climbed 7.1 percent.

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