Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Earnings Beat Estimates

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) released its first quarter earnings results, earnings of 88 cents per share, excluding items. Sales fell to $10.26 billion, a 4% decline, compared to $10.67 billion last year. Reported earnings per share were 57 cents. Analysts had been expecting non-GAAP earnings of 79 cents per share on sales of $10.44 billion for the quarter.

Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Earnings Beat Estimates

The drug maker cited negative impacts from patent expirations and a 2% negative impact from foreign exchange rates as reasons for the lower sales.

Breaking down Merck’s results

The company said pharmaceutical sales fell 5% to $8.5 billion during the quarter. Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) saw increases in sales of the biologic medication Remicade, the TNF blocker Simponi and HIV medication Isentress. The drug maker also noted growth in its diabetes and vaccines franchises. Growth in these medications partially offset negative impacts from patent expirations on several drugs. Merck noted declines in sales of its allergy medications Singulair and Nasonex, chemotherapy drug Temodar, and hypertension drugs Cozaar and Hyzaar.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) reported $813 million in sales from its Animal Health division, which is a 3% year over year decrease. All of that increase was due to negative impacts from foreign exchange rates. The drug maker voluntarily suspended sales of its cattle feed supplement Zilmax in Canada and the U.S. Excluding that drug, sales for the division rose 5% as higher sales of products for poultry, swine and aquatic animals rose.

The company posted $454 million in other revenues, a 25% year over year increase.

Merck looks ahead

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) reaffirmed its full year non-GAAP earnings target of between $3.35 and $5.53 per share, excluding items, and GAAP earnings per share range of between $2.15 and $2.47 per share.

The drug maker reported also that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved its Grastek and Ragwitek immunotherapy tablets. The agency also accepted filings.

In addition, Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) revealed progress in a number of clinical trials, including trails for its HIV and HCV drugs. The drug maker reported also that the European Commission granted authorization for it to market its flea and tick tablet Bravecto for dogs. Merck expects to secure approval in the U.S. later this year.

The drug maker said it has repurchased $7.5 billion worth of common shares over the last 12 months.