Vaccines demand lifts sales at Pfizer

Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
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Pfizer reported stronger-than-expected quarterly sales due to cost cuts and demand for its vaccines and cancer drugs, but the company forecast 2015 earnings below Wall Street expectations, citing patent expirations and the stronger dollar.

The largest US drugmaker said yesterday that it earned $1.23bn (£0.81bn), or 19 cents per share, in the fourth quarter.

That compared with $2.57bn, or 39 cents per share, a year earlier.

Pfizer forecast 2015 earnings of $2.00 to $2.10 per share, excluding special items. Wall Street had been expecting $2.18.

Revenue fell 3 per cent to $13.1bn but exceeded analysts’ estimates of $12.9bn.

In May, the company gave up its six-month pursuit of British rival AstraZeneca after its final $118bn bid was rejected.

It had hoped to base the combined entity in Britain, which has lower taxes than the United States, in a manoeuvre called tax inversion.

Many industry analysts said Pfizer also went after AstraZeneca to bolster its own relatively weak pipeline of experimental drugs in later stages of testing, and because cost cuts following a big merger would have propped up earnings.

US rival AbbVie in October gave up its $55bn quest to buy Dublin drugmaker Shire because new US Treasury tax rules made that tax-inversion deal less attractive.