BMS grows profits by 16%; AZ boosts EPS expectations

It's a banner day for earnings reports, with Bristol-Myers Squibb posting double-digit increases in sales and profits and AstraZeneca hiking its 2010 earnings forecast. Sanofi-Aventis recorded profits growth as well. Bayer, UCB and a gaggle of smaller companies also reported. Here are the highlights.

  • Bristol-Myers Squibb's (NYSE:BMY) Q1 profit leapt by 16 percent, beating analyst expectations, on an 11 percent rise in sales to $4.81 billion. Strong performers: The blood thinner Plavix, which posted a 16 percent increase in sales despite a new FDA boxed warning; bone drug Orencia, which grew by 36 percent; antiviral Baraclude, which posted 42 percent growth; and atypical antipsychotic Abilify, which grew by 4.8 percent. Bristol did cut its EPS forecast by 5 cents, citing U.S. healthcare reform costs. Release | Report

  • AstraZeneca  (NYSE: AZN) actually raised its 2010 earnings forecast, for the second time this year, despite expectations of $300 million in healthcare reform costs. First-quarter earnings, excluding items, grew to $2.03 per share, well beating analyst expectations of $1.72; net income amounted to $2.7 billion, up from $2.15 billion year over year. Release | Report

  • Sanofi-Aventis (NYSE: SNY) posted an 8.6 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit to $2.26 billion, lifted by its diabetes drug Lantus, acquisitions and a boost from sales of H1N1 flu vaccines. The French drugmaker said it is on track to meet its full-year targets, with earnings growth of 2 percent to 5 percent. An analyst noted "solid numbers," but "no fireworks here." Release | Report

  • Bayer raised its 2010 earnings growth forecast and posted first-quarter profits growth of 63 percent, but these figures came despite weakness in its healthcare unit in general and drugs business in specific. Pharma sales managed 0.7 percent growth, suffering from a 10 percent decline in revenues from the Yaz family of contraceptive pills. Release | Report

  • Belgian pharma UCB repeated its outlook for 2010 as growth in new drugs helped absorb declines by its leading product, epilepsy treatment Keppra, which faces generic rivals in the United States. Release | Report