Lilly, AZ numbers beat; Novartis falls short

A slew of earnings reports hit the news, including three from Big Pharma: Eli Lilly ($LLY), AstraZeneca ($AZN) and Novartis ($NVS). While the 2010 numbers were mixed, the companies' predictions for 2011 sounded the same downbeat tune. After all, drugmakers have been bracing themselves for 2011 for years. More on that elsewhere; here's how the fourth quarter looked:


  • Lilly beat earnings forecasts, posting income of $1.17 billion, or $1.05 per share, up from $915 million year-over-year. Excluding items, EPS was $1.11, a penny ahead of analyst expectations, Bloomberg reports. Revenues also grew by 4.3 percent to $6.19 billion, fueled by strong sales of the antidepressant Cymbalta and cancer treatment Alimta. But the results also showed generic erosion; the cancer drug Gemzar, for instance, saw sales drop 22 percent. News | Article

  • AstraZeneca also delivered street-beating numbers, and it announced a $4 billion share buy-back effort. Revenues came in at $8.62 billion, versus estimates of $8.38 billion, while core earnings of $1.39 beat the $1.35 forecast. The cholesterol drug Crestor also beat expectations with sales of $1.58 billion. Report | Item

  • Novartis profits, however, fell short; core EPS dropped by 10 percent in the quarter on one-time charges, including a $2 billion writedown on its buyout of the eyecare company Alcon. Lower margins across the company also weighed on earnings, Vontobel analyst Andrew Weiss told Reuters, and Justin Smith of MF Global called the results "a disappointing miss on the operating level." Sales grew by 10 percent to $14.2 billion, aided by revenue from new meds. Story | Report


Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMS) reports numbers later today.