Prevnar, Ibrance beat again to help Pfizer pass Q1 forecasts


Pfizer came up big in Q1, topping sales and revenue estimates by a hefty margin. And it had a handful of extra selling days to thank for the beat.

The company’s revenues checked in at $13.01 billion, smoking forecasts of $12.02 billion and pushing EPS to a 67-cent mark that toppled Wall Street’s 55-cent prediction. But the pharma giant attributed most of that extra revenue--$900 million--to an additional five U.S. selling days and four international selling days in the quarter.

That’s not to say some of Pfizer’s products didn’t exceed sales expectations. As Evercore ISI analyst Mark Schoenebaum wrote in a Tuesday note to clients, factoring out the selling days, operational year-over-year revenue growth came to about 8%, “which is still very good growth for Pfizer with its relatively mature portfolio of products.”

Among the outperformers was the Prevnar family of vaccines, which put up $1.51 billion compared with the $1.4 billion analysts thought they’d see. Hot new seller Ibrance, a breast cancer med, joined in, too, registering sales of $429 million--$30 million more than the tally the Street expected.

With the Q1 performance in mind, the New York drugmaker upped its full-year revenue guidance by $2 billion, bringing its expected range to between $51 billion and $53 billion. It updated its EPS outlook, too: It now thinks EPS will come in between $2.38 and $2.48, an 8% midpoint increase over the $2.20 to $2.30 range it earlier predicted.

That guidance tweak is “really about strong operating performance and, to a lesser extent, foreign exchange,” company CFO Frank D’Amelio told investors on the Q1 conference call.

It’s a good sign for Pfizer, which is regrouping in the wake of its canceled megamerger with Allergan. The companies called off their $160 billion tie up last month after the U.S. Treasury rolled out new, stricter rules that scuttled the transaction’s tax benefits.

But that doesn’t mean the company isn’t looking to make another buy--especially one that could help along a potential split-up of the company. If Pfizer does get to the dealmaking table, expect it to look toward acquisitions that could bolster its innovative products business, and especially to assets that are near-market or already on the market, CEO Ian Read told investors on the call.

And about that potential split-up? Pfizer expects to rule on that matter by the end of the year, Read reiterated. And assuming it does decide to divide, the company believes that process could be complete by the end of 2017, he said.

- read Pfizer's release (PDF)

Special Reports: The most influential people in biopharma today - Ian Read - Pfizer | The top 15 pharma companies by 2014 revenue - Pfizer

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Pictured is a Pfizer sign in Pennsylvania, courtesy of the Montgomery County Planning Commission.