Bristol-Meyers Reports Growth for 3rd Quarter

for VerusMed.com

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (BMS) reported double-digit sales growth for the third quarter compared with the same period of last year, along with a 200 percent increase in net earnings, which were boosted by the sale of the firm’s ConvaTec wound-healing business and higher drug sales.

BMS’ net income in the third quarter was $2.58 billion, or $1.29 per diluted share, up from $858 million, or $0.43 per share, reported in the third quarter of 2007. The increase was attributed largely to the sale of the ConvaTec business to Nordic Capital Fund VII and Avista Capital Partners for $4.1 billion, which was completed Aug. 1 and was offset by a $224 million loss related to auction rate securities.

Excluding special items, BMS posted a profit of $588 million, or $0.46 per share, reflecting a 22 percent decrease from the previous year’s third quarter but still coming in higher than the average of $0.42 per share analysts were expecting, according to Reuters Estimates.

The company posted third-quarter net sales of $5.25 billion, an increase of 14 percent compared with the previous year’s third-quarter net sales of $4.6 billion.

Worldwide sales of the blood thinner Plavix (clopidogrel bisulfate), which is sold in partnership with Sanofi-Aventis Group, increased 15 percent to $1.44 billion in the most recent quarter, up from $1.25 billion in the same period of 2007.

Revenue for Abilify (aripiprazole), the antipsychotic BMS co-promotes with Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., increased 34 percent, from $420 million in the third quarter of 2007 to $564 million in the most recent quarter.

Sales of Orencia (abatacept), BMS’ treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, nearly doubled from the previous year’s third quarter, from $60 million to $119 million. The hepatitis B treatment Baraclude (entecavir) performed equally well, increasing from $72 million in the third quarter of 2007 to $144 million during this year’s third quarter.

BMS raised its guidance for fully diluted earnings per share from continuing operations of $1.61 to $1.66, noting that this increase reflects an estimated $900 million pretax gain from Eli Lilly and Co.’s acceptance of BMS’ tender of its shares in ImClone Systems Inc. If BMS does not receive the anticipated cash from this tender, it will lower its 2008 guidance to $1.32 to $1.37 per share.

Shares of BMS closed at $18.05, up $0.52 or 3 percent, in heavy volume on the New York Stock Exchange.

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