Lilly's profits fall, miss analyst expectations

January 28, 2010

Eli Lilly and Co.’s profits dropped 10 percent in the fourth quarter, falling short of analysts’ expectations.

The Indianapolis-based drugmaker earned $999.4 million in the three months ended Dec. 31, down from $1.12 billion in the same quarter a year ago. Those totals exclude the impact of Lilly’s sale of its Lafayette manufacturing plant in October 2009 and its purchase of ImClone Systems in November 2008.

On that same basis, Lilly’s fourth-quarter profit per share was 91 cents, down from $1.02 a year ago.

Wall Street analysts this year were expecting profit of 92 cents per share, excluding the extraordinary items, according to a survey by Thomson Financial network.

In a statement, Lilly CEO John Lechleiter highlighted Lilly’s performance for all of 2009, during which Lilly’s profits rose 16 percent to $4.85 billion, or $4.42 per share.

"In 2009, we delivered solid financial results even as we continued to implement a series of actions aimed at speeding innovation to patients and delivering greater value to our customers,” he said.

For 2010, Lilly reaffirmed its profit forecast of $4.65 to $4.85 per share.

In the fourth quarter, Lilly’s sales rose by 14 percent to $5.9 billion. The growth was driven by higher prices in the United States and by higher volume in the rest of the world.

Its cancer drug Alimta continued to be the fastest-growing product, with fourth-quarter sales rising 64 percent to $523.6 million.

Excluding the impact of Lilly’s extraordinary events, the company would have earned a profit of $915.4 million, or 83 cents per share. In the fourth quarter a year ago, Lilly recorded a loss of $3.6 billion, or $3.31 per share.


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