AstraZeneca Q1 Earnings: Profit Fell 25 Percent On Generics

AstraZeneca Q1 Earnings: Profit Fell 25 Percent On Generics

AstraZeneca Plc (ADR) (NYSE:AZN) posted Q1 quarter results today and sales missed analysts estimates owing to increased competition from generic versions while earnings beat the consensus.

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Revenue for the U.K.’s second- biggest pharmaceutical company was down 13 percent to $6.39 billion, missing the $6.55 billion average estimate compiled by Bloomberg. The company’s biggest seller last year, cholesterol drug Crestor sales were down 11 percent to $1.3 billion. AstraZeneca Plc (NYSE:AZN)’s Asthma treatment drug Symbicort, which competes with GlaxoSmithKline Plc (NYSE:GSK)’s Advair, generated $826 million, marginally missing the consensus estimates of $832 million.

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“The first quarter performance reflects the loss of exclusivity for several large products,” Soriot said in the statement today. “We remain focused on our strategic priorities of returning to growth and achieving scientific leadership.”

The pharmaceutical major’s profit; excluding some of the items, fell 25 percent to $2.32 billion, or $1.41 a share from $3.1 billion, or $1.87 a year earlier. A cut in the budget for research and development helped the earnings to exceed the analyst estimate of $1.37 a share.

Sales of the antipsychotic Seroquel, fell 60 percent at constant exchange rates to $449 million. The revenues from the ulcer pill Nexium, which has competition from generics in Europe and Canada, fell 1 percent to 940 million. The sales for Atacand used for hypertension treatment was down 47 percent to $168 million.

The blood thinner drug called Brilique, which won the European approval in 2010, reported $51 million in sales compared to $9 million a year earlier. The sales of Brilique beat the analysts estimates of $43.4 million. Commenting on the drug in March, the CEO told that it has blockbuster potential and annual sales could easily cross the$1 billion mark.

The London based company is undergoing cost-cutting measures, like slashing head counts, and is focusing more on future growth, as the patented drugs that currently account for 40 percent of the revenues will be become un-patented by the end of next year. The drug makers Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot, told earlier that he prefers small to mid-sized acquisitions of companies and products to fuel growth instead of large “disruptive” deals.

The company plans to focus more on respiratory, inflammation and autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular and metabolic illnesses, and cancer. The drug maker also intends to double the number of experimental treatments in late-stage development by 2016.

For the full year, the company expects sales to decline by “mid- to high-single-digit percentage” at constant exchange rates and profits are expected to decline “significantly more than revenue.”

At around 8.30 am in London, AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN)’s shares lost 1 percent to 3,355.50 pence. Last year, the stock has returned 25 percent including reinvested dividends compared to 32 percent return for the Bloomberg Europe Pharmaceutical Index.

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