Pfizer beats forecast with $3.4bn profit

City A.M. Reporter
PFIZER reported better-than-expected quarterly results yesterday, helped by the weaker dollar and strong performance of the nutritionals and animal health businesses it plans to sell or spin off.

The world’s biggest drugmaker, whose top-selling Lipitor cholesterol fighter will face generic competition in the US from 30 November, boosted its full-year 2011 profit forecast and predicted 2012 earnings will be little changed from this year.

The company said yesterday profits were $3.74bn (£2.35bn) in the third quarter, including a $1.3bn after-tax gain on the recent sale of its Capsugel business.

That compared with a profit of $866m in the year-earlier period, when the company took a big charge for asbestos litigation.

Global revenue rose seven per cent to $17.1bn, well above Wall Street expectations of $16.4bn. But revenue would have risen only one per cent if not for the weak dollar, which increases the value of sales in overseas markets.

Pfizer’s earnings and share price have been in the dumps for most of the past five years due to worry over Lipitor’s impending collapse and the company’s inability to create big-selling drugs.

But a handful of promising new drugs now working their way through late-stage trials have restored some faith in the company’s laboratories.