Pfizer announced Tuesday that fourth-quarter sales fell 2 percent year-over-year to $13.6 billion, although the figure beat analyst estimates of $13.4 billion. Meanwhile, net income reached $2.6 billion, down 59 percent versus the year-ago three-month period when the company recorded a gain of approximately $4.8 billion following the sale of its nutrition business to Nestle.
The drugmaker completed the spin-off of its animal-health unit Zoetis in June last year and also revealed plans to separate its internal commercial operations into three business segments, two of which will focus on patent-protected branded drugs. The moves have fuelled speculation that Pfizer may further breakup its operations. «The last big lever management has to pull is to split up the drugs side of the business — this would be unprecedented and shareholders are likely to reward this bold action," commented Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst Timothy Anderson.
In the fourth quarter, sales of Lyrica jumped 11 percent year-over-year to $1.3 billion, while revenue from Enbrel, which Pfizer markets with Amgen, increased 5 percent to $1 billion. In addition, sales of Prevnar/Prevenar vaccines rose 3 percent to $1.1 billion. ISI Group analyst Mark Schoenebaum noted that results from the Capita study investigating whether Prevnar 13 should be used in adults, as well as children and the elderly, are expected in the next several weeks. Schoenebaum suggested that positive results from the trial may add $1 billion in new sales of the vaccine.
For other products, three-month sales of Celebrex were up 6 percent to $798 million, while revenue from Viagra slipped 14 percent to $476 million, due to lower sales in overseas markets. Pfizer posted quarterly sales for Xeljanz, which was approved by the FDA in 2012 for the treatment of patients with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis, of $46 million.
For 2014, the drugmaker indicated that sales are expected to be between $49.2 billion and $51.2 billion, with earnings of $2.20 per share to $2.30 per share. Chief financial officer Frank D’Amelio noted that the guidance «reflects the anticipated negative impact of approximately $3 billion due to recent and expected product losses of exclusivity." Analysts forecast sales of around $49.7 billion, on earnings of $2.28 per share.
JP Morgan analyst Chris Schott said the results were «solid» and driven by unexpectedly strong sales and lower than expected expenses. The analyst noted that investors remain focused mainly on Pfizer’s drug pipeline, including the breast cancer therapy palbociclib. In April last year, the FDA granted the oral cyclin-dependent kinases 4 and 6 inhibitor breakthrough therapy status for the treatment of breast cancer.