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Bristol-Myers Earnings Rise on Lower Costs; Sales Decline
  Jan. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. said fourth-quarter earnings more than tripled because of lower costs, while the drugmaker's sales fell.
Net income increased to $499 million, or 26 cents a share, from $139 million, or 7 cents, when the company had $575 million in costs to return foreign profits to the U.S., New York-based Bristol-Myers said today in a statement. Revenue declined to $5.02 billion from $5.16 billion.
Sales of the company's No. 2 product, the cholesterol treatment Pravachol, dropped 18 percent on competition from generics and more potent rivals. Bristol-Myers, the fifth- largest U.S. drugmaker, is controlling expenses and counting on new treatments for rheumatoid arthritis and hepatitis B to bolster earnings starting in 2007.
"After a long product portfolio transition, we forecast that Bristol-Myers could return to a period of sustained high teens earnings per share growth in 2007-2010,'' Catherine Arnold, a New York-based analyst for Credit Suisse First Boston, said Jan. 17 in a note to clients.
Sales increased 11 percent for the blood-thinner Plavix, the company's leading product. Quarterly sales were also helped by Baraclude, the hepatitis B treatment approved in March by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and Erbitux, the cancer drug that Bristol-Myers sells with ImClone Systems Inc.
The FDA approved Orencia, the rheumatoid arthritis treatment, on Dec. 23.
The drug may have worldwide sales of about $1 billion by 2010, Arnold said Dec. 12 in a note to clients. The treatment was the second drug developed in the company's own labs to receive U.S. approval in 2005. Bristol-Myers is still awaiting U.S. approval for its dasatinib cancer treatment.
Shares of Bristol-Myers fell 77 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $21.33 yesterday in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. They declined 9.6 percent last year.
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