Pfizer tops forecasts after sale of nutrition business pays off

City A.M. Reporter
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ER reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter results yesterday, helped by rebounding sales in emerging markets, but the drugmaker forecast that 2013 profits would be weaker than Wall Street has estimated.

Pfizer, the largest US drugmaker, said quarterly earnings quadrupled to $6.32bn (£4bn), or 86 cents per share, as it recorded a gain from selling its nutritional products business to Swiss food groups Nestle for about $12bn in November.

In the year-earlier quarter, it posted a profit of $1.44bn, or 19 cents per share.

Excluding special items, Pfizer earned 47 cents per share in the quarter.

Global company sales fell seven per cent to $15.1bn, hurt by generic competition for its Lipitor cholesterol fighter, but came in well above expectations of $14.37bn.

On the heels of selling its nutrition business, Pfizer is expected within days to raise more than $2.2bn through an initial public offering that will separate its animal health unit into a new company called Zoetis.