Lilly posts $1.3B profit, topping expectations-WEB ONLY

Eli Lilly and Co.’s profit soared above analysts’ expectations in the three months ended March 31.

The Indianapolis-based drugmaker reported earnings per share of $1.20 this morning, well above the 99 cents Wall Street analysts had predicted, according to a survey by Thomson Financial.

Lilly said first-quarter profit was $1.3 billion, up 24 percent from nearly $1.1 billion in the same quarter a year ago.

Sales rose 5 percent, to $5.05 billion, in line with analysts’ forecasts.

“Our revenue growth included solid volume-based gains, while our gross margin percentage benefited from a stronger U.S. Dollar. These results, in combination with prudent expense management, helped us to achieve operating leverage and robust earnings per share growth,” Lilly CEO John Lechleiter said in a statement.

Changing exchange rates also tempered the sales growth of some Lilly products. Alimta sales jumped 36 percent, to $335 million, and Cymbalta sales grew 17 percent, to $709.3 million. Humalog sales rose 11 percent, to $450.6 million, and Cialis sales expanded 6 percent, to $358.8 million. Sales of Lilly top-seller Zyprexa remained flat, at $1.1 billion.

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