King Is in Control

The drug company's sales and earnings are ahead of estimates.
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King Pharmaceuticals

(KG)

posted first-quarter sales and earnings that beat Wall Street's estimates as the company continues its strategic makeover.

Excluding one-time items, the Bristol, Tenn., company earned 44 cents a share on revenue of $484.2 million for the three months ended March 31. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting a profit of 38 cents and revenue of $452 million.

When special items are included, King earned $50.7 million, or 21 cents a share, vs. a profit of $70.1 million, or 29 cents a share, for the same period last year. First-quarter 2005 revenue was $368.6 million.

The biggest one-time item in the latest quarter was an $85 million charge relating to a research-and-development deal with another company.

King's revenue comparison with the year-ago quarter was enhanced primarily by last year's inventory reductions for some products. Sales of the blood pressure drug Altace, King's biggest product, rose 85% to $159 million. Sales of the muscle relaxant Skelaxin climbed 37% to $99 million.

Shares of King rose 7 cents, or 0.4%, to $18.11. The stock has almost doubled since Feb. 28, 2005, when its proposed takeover by

Mylan Laboratories

(MYL) - Get Report

was canceled after the companies

couldn't agree on a revised price. Mylan bid for King in July 2004.