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Barr Keeps Profit Forecast

First-quarter earnings beat Wall Street's estimates.

Barr Pharmaceuticals

(BRL)

issued first-quarter earnings that beat Wall Street's estimates by a wide margin, but revenue fell short of analysts' forecasts.

The generic-drug specialist also reaffirmed its full-year earnings projection of $3 to $3.30 a share, excluding one-time items. The broad range is due to "a lot of moving parts" in the company's U.S. and overseas businesses, said Bruce Downey, the chairman and CEO.

Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had been predicting $3 a share. The company said full-year revenue should be $2.4 billion to $2.5 billion, a bit below the consensus of $2.56 billion.

In early trading, the stock was up $1.82, or 3.7%, to $51.71.

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For the three months ended March 31, Barr earned 78 cents a share, excluding items, on revenue of $599.4 million. Analysts were looking for earnings of 61 cents a share on revenue of $616.4 million.

When the items had been counted, Barr earned $11.6 million, or 11 cents a share. For the same period last year, Barr earned $76.1 million, or 70 cents a share, on revenue of $326.8 million.

The decline in profit primarily reflects charges and expenses related to the acquisition of the Croatian generic-drug maker Pliva in October. The higher sales also are attributed to the integration of Pliva.

Downey said the first-quarter profit was higher than he had expected, adding that revenue was depressed by generic competition for Seasonale, a brand-name oral contraceptive.

Worldwide sales of generic drugs jumped to $475 million from $200 million for the year-ago period. The U.S. component grew to $304 million from $200 million, thanks to Pliva products sold in the U.S.

Sales of brand-name products slipped to $89 million from $93 million. Alliance and development revenue dropped to $25 million from $33 million. Barr also said it plans to sell its animal-health business and its operations in Spain, hoping that deals can be done by the end of the year.