Drugmaker Eli Lilly expects 2014 earnings in line with forecasts

City A.M. Reporter
ELI LILLY yesterday forecast its profit will fall by up to one-third this year, as cheaper generic forms of its Zyprexa schizophrenia treatment and Cymbalta depression drug hurt results, but the outlook was in line with expectations.

The US drugmaker said it expects earnings, excluding special items, at $2.77 to $2.85 per share in 2014.

The Indianapolis-based company forecast revenue this year between $19.2bn (£11.7bn) and $19.8bn, also in line with analysts’ expectations.

Zyprexa, which had annual sales of more than $5bn at its peak, now brings in only $1bn. Rising prices of Cymbalta have helped cushion Zyprexa’s decline, but sales of the $5bn-a-year antidepressant are expected to plunge following the loss of its own patent protection last month.

The company’s pain will intensify in March, when Lilly’s Evista osteoporosis drug, with annual sales of $1bn, goes up against generics.

Early last year Lilly had projected revenue of $20bn for 2014, but in October it said it would be hard-pressed to reach that goal because of the devaluation of the yen and slower growth in emerging markets.

The drugmaker said yesterday it expects to achieve its goals for net income of $3bn and operating cash flow of $4bn in 2014, and plans to maintain its dividend at the current level.