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Lilly profit falls, but forecast rises after second quarter

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Second-quarter profit fell at Eli Lilly and Co., but the drugmaker beat the estimates of Wall Street analysts by a penny per share and raised its full-year profit forecast as much as a dime per share.

Indianapolis-based Lilly earned $1.2 billion, or $1.07 per share, in the three months ended June 30, a decline of 11 percent compared with the same quarter a year ago.

Excluding restructuring charges related to Lilly’s ongoing layoffs of 5,500 workers, the company would have earned $1.3 billion, or $1.18 per share, which represents a 4 percent decline in profit from the same quarter last year, when all special charges are excluded.

On that basis, analysts were expecting profit of $1.17 per share, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.

Lilly raised its 2011 profit forecast to a range of $4.25 per share to $4.35 per share, excluding special charges. In April, Lilly predicted it would earn $4.15 per share to $4.30 per share for the year.

“Our financial results reflect the solid performance of many of our marketed products, as well as important investments we are making to expand our commercial opportunities and deliver the next wave of potential new medicines to patients,” said Lilly CEO John C. Lechleiter in a prepared statement. “Key Lilly products continue to perform well, including Cymbalta, Cialis and our insulins. Exchange rates have also contributed to favorable sales comparisons.”

Revenue for the quarter totaled $6.25 billion, up 9 percent from the same quarter a year ago. Analysts were only expecting $6 billion in revenue.

Lilly achieved double-digit sales growth for seven of its eight best-selling drugs, including 18 percent growth for its insulin Humilin, 16 percent for another insulin Humalog and 16 percent growth for its anti-depressant Cymbalta.

Sales of Lilly’s cancer drug Gemzar fell 62 percent, after generic copies of the drug started to hit U.S. markets since November. Lilly also faces generic competition for its bestseller Zyprexa when its U.S. and European patents expire in October.

Looming patent losses have weighed on Lilly shares for nearly three years now. But so far this year, the company’s stock price has risen 9 percent, closing Wednesday at $38.17. The S&P 500 has risen only 5 percent so far this year.

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