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slipped late Wednesday after guiding toward the low end of Wall Street's 2005 earnings views.

The shortfall came as the West Chester, Pa., drug company posted third-quarter results. Those numbers topped the Wall Street consensus, excluding one-time items from its acquisition of

Cima Labs

and other charges.

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For the three months ended Sept. 30, Cephalon said it recorded adjusted earnings of $46.2 million, or 75 cents a share, on revenue of $262 million. That compares to the average prediction of a profit of $39.8 million, or 67 cents a share, on revenue of $257 million, according to Thomson First Call. These adjusted earnings figures exclude one-time charges.

On a GAAP basis, Cephalon reported a loss of $165.2 million, or $2.94 a share, thanks primarily to charges associated with its acquisition of Cima Labs. Cepahlon recorded a pretax charge of $185.7 million relating to the Cima acquisition. Cephalon also recorded charges totaling $29.6 million due to the exchange of certain notes for common stock and for the repurchase of some notes.

Cephalon said it was refining its 2004 adjusted earnings guidance to $2.35 a share, or 2 cents higher than the Wall Street consensus. Revenue will be in the range of $940 million or $965 million, which is below the Thomson First Call consensus of $987.6 million.

Cephalon also introduced 2005 guidance, predicting an adjusted EPS in the range of $2.80 to $2.95, compared to the Thomson First Call average of $2.94. Cephalon predicted its 2005 sales would be in the range of $1.2 billion to $1.25 billion, compared to the Thomson First Call consensus of $1.22 billion.

The company also pointed out that it had overstated its second-quarter earnings by $1.2 million due to "a clerical error related to the cost of sales in France." As a result, the company decided to restate its second-quarter results.

Cephalon released its financial report after markets had closed. In regular trading, shares rose $1.56, or 3.4%, to $48.07. But in after-hours trading, the stock gave back $1.35, or 2.8%, to $46.72.