, the nation's third-largest drug company, said Wednesday that strong sales of its diabetes drug
helped the company to post fourth-quarter results that beat Wall Street's estimates by a penny.
Earnings for the fourth quarter increased 13% to $1.2 billion, or 59 cents a share, 1 cent more than the 58 cents forecast for the quarter by the consensus of 25 analysts polled by
First Call/Thomson Financial
. In the same period one year ago, the company reported net income of $1.05 billion, or 52 cents a share. Earnings per share for the full year increased 15% to $2.36.
Sales rose 8% to $5.5 billion in the fourth quarter, excluding businesses sold in 2000 and foreign exchange.
The company suffered a setback during the fourth quarter when it lost patent protection over its cancer drug
, and so was expected to lose some of its profits to copycat medicine makers.
Bristol-Myers' stock closed at $66.25 Tuesday on the
New York Stock Exchange