swung to a fourth-quarter profit but missed Wall Street estimates. The drug giant also set a 15-million-share stock buyback.
For the quarter ended Dec. 31, the Madison, N.J., maker of antidepressant Effexor made $732 million, or 54 cents a share, reversing the year-ago loss of $1.76 billion, or $1.32 a share. The latest quarter included a 5-cent-a-share charge for its productivity push. Excluding the charge, the latest-quarter profit was 59 cents a share, down from 64 cents a year ago and a penny shy of the Thomson First Call analyst consensus estimate. Revenue rose to $4.75 billion from $4.65 billion a year earlier but missed the $4.9 billion estimate.
The decreases in net income and diluted earnings per share before certain significant items for the 2005 fourth quarter resulted from higher research and development spending, partially offset by higher net revenue, lower cost of goods sold and selling, general and administrative expenses, both as a percentage of net revenue, lower interest expense, net and higher other income, net.
"Wyeth demonstrated strong product performance and 2005 was a year of significant strategic accomplishment," said CEO Robert Essner. "With strong growth from biotechnology products such as Enbrel and our vaccine, Prevnar, and contributions from our core pharmaceutical products such as Effexor and Protonix, Wyeth is in the strongest competitive position in its history with five product franchises exceeding one billion dollars in annual revenues."
"Wyeth's R&D continued to yield industry-leading results by filing two New Drug Applications (NDAs) in 2005 and is working toward five more for new products in the next 18 months. This was also a year in which we formed new partnership alliances, implemented a new primary care sales model in the U.S. and opened one of the world's largest integrated biotechnology manufacturing facilities. Finally, we made significant progress on diet drug litigation."