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Bristol Myers Beats Q1 Earnings Forecasts, Confirms 2020 Profit Guidance

Bristol Myers said its profit guidance "assumes the peak impact of the current COVID-19 crisis occurs in the second quarter ... with a minimal impact from the fourth quarter of 2020 onwards."

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.  (BMY) - Get Bristol-Myers Squibb Company Report posted stronger-than-expected first-quarter earnings Thursday, and confirmed its 2020 profit guidance, as the drugmaker predicted a near-term peak in coronavirus disruption.

Bristol-Myers said non-GAAP earnings for the three months ending in March came in at $1.72 per share, up 56% from the same period last year and firmly ahead of the Street consensus forecast of $1.49 per share, as the impact of last year's $78 billion purchase of cancer drug specialist Celgene helped boost its bottom line. Group revenues, Bristol-Myers said, rose 8.2% to $10.78 billion, again beating analysts' estimates of a $10.02 billion tally.

Bristol-Myers also confirmed its 2020 profit guidance, which sees non-GAAP earnings in the region of $6.00 to $6.20 per share, but tweaked its revenue forecast to a range of $40 billion to $42 billion, down around $500,000 from its prior estimate.

"Our teams have maintained a reliable supply of medicine globally, implemented innovative programs to ensure patients continue to have access to needed medicines and supported relief efforts around the world," said CEO Giovanni Caforio. "This experience has brought our new company together in a way that reinforces our values and what we can do for patients.”

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“We are well-positioned to continue to successfully drive commercial execution of our inline business, launch new brands, progress our integration efforts and deliver our synergy targets while advancing our pipeline," he added. "Our financial strength enables us to maintain a capital allocation plan focused on commitment to our dividend, and prioritize debt-reduction and business development."

Bristol-Myers shares were marked 1.62% higher early trading following the earnings release to change hands at $62.13 each, a move that would extend its six-week gain to 33.5%, well ahead of the 27.3% advance for the S&P 500. 

Worldwide sales of its blood clot treatment, Eliquis, surged 37% to $2.64 billion, offsetting a slide in revenues for Opdivo, the group's blockbuster cancer treatment, which fell 2% to $1.77 billion.