Alpharma Posts Profit

The drug company punishes analyst estimates.
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Alpharma

(ALO) - Get Report

swung to a third-quarter profit.

The Fort Lee, N.J., drugmaker made $17.8 million, or 34 cents a share, for the quarter ended Sept. 30, reversing the year-ago loss of $4.7 million, or 9 cents a share. Revenue rose to $349 million from $298 million a year earlier. The company cited increased sales of animal health livestock products, and increased sales of U.S generic products, primarily the gabapentin anticonvulsant. Analysts had forecast a 13-cent profit on sales of $338 million.

"The strength of our third quarter results in our Branded Pharmaceuticals and Animal Health businesses demonstrates that after the divestiture of our global generics business, Alpharma's specialty pharmaceutical businesses, combined with our increased financial flexibility, have significant opportunities for growth," said CEO Ingrid Wiik.

"Prescriptions for our Kadian pain-relief product grew 29% in the first nine months of 2005 versus the comparable period in 2004, and Kadian pharmacy sales grew in excess of 10% sequentially for the second consecutive quarter. Animal Health revenues grew 7% and reported operating margins exceeded 20%. Our year-to-date free cash flow already exceeds full year 2004 levels."

Trading of Alpharma stock was halted late Monday after it rose $1.46 during regular trading to $27.24.