Earnings: Merck, Forest slump; Schering climbs

A couple of big earnings reports out today--Merck and Schering-Plough--plus some less-large-but-still-important, such as Forest Laboratories and Boehringer Ingelheim. So we'll gather the results for you, along with some catch-up earnings we've been holding over the past couple days.

  • Good thing Merck is buying Schering-Plough, then. Schering almost tripled profits to $767 million, partly because earnings were depressed by Organon charges during last year's first quarter. Still, even adjusting for special items, Schering's 56-cent EPS beat the street's expectations of 47 cents. Revenue fell 6 percent to $4.39 billion, in part because of the stronger dollar, in part because its cash-cow cholesterol drugs Vytorin and Zetia continued their slump with a 21 percent drop in sales.
  • Forest Laboratories suffered big-time on a 45-cent-per-share charge related to the settlement of a Justice Department marketing probe. The drugmaker posted net income of $93 million, or 31 cents per share, way down from last year's $173 million, or 55 cents per share. Revenues also fell, to $966 million from $991 million, partly on a 5 percent drop in Lexapro sales.
  • Boehringer, however, reported some upbeat numbers, namely an expectation that it would grow sales in the single digits this year, at a rate outpacing global market expansion. Sales for fiscal 2008 increased by 6 percent to $14.97 billion, partly on a 16 percent rise in sales of Spiriva, a respiratory drug it sells with Pfizer. Profits dropped because of higher R&D spending and the weak dollar, to $1.43 billion.
  • Baxter's quarterly profit rose 20 percent to $516 million on improved margins and continued strong demand for its blood therapy products. Revenues fell 2 percent on forex to $2.8 billion; excluding currency impacts, sales would have grown by 6 percent.

- see Bloomberg's take on Merck
- check out Schering's numbers from Reuters
- get MarketWatch's Forest news
- read the Boehringer story from Reuters
- get the Reuters report on Baxter

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