Revenue Climbs at Teva

The company's fourth-quarter earnings top estimates.
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Teva Pharmaceutical Industries

(TEVA) - Get Report

said fourth-quarter revenue rose 6% from a year ago, while earnings for the last three months of 2005 beat analysts' estimates.

Teva, the world's largest maker of generic drugs, said it would provide a forecast for 2006 in May. Teva's 2005 results exclude the impact of

Ivax

, the Miami-based generic drug company that it acquired last month.

Last year "was a record-breaking year for us, not only financially but strategically as well," Israel Makov, chief executive of Teva, said Tuesday.

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, Teva earned $305 million, or 45 cents a share, up 9% and 10%, respectively, from the same period in 2004. Fourth-quarter revenue was $1.4 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were predicting a profit of 43 cents a share on revenue of $1.4 billion. For the full year, Teva's EPS of $1.59 beat the Wall Street consensus by 2 cents. Full-year revenue of $5.25 billion was just under the consensus estimate of $5.28 billion.

Although Teva specializes in generics, the Israel-based company's sales highlight last year was Copaxone, its brand-name treatment for multiple sclerosis. Copaxone took a market leading 34.3% of total MS prescriptions in the U.S. in December, according to the medical data firm IMS Health.

For the year, worldwide Copaxone sales gained 26% to $1.18 billion. The U.S. accounted for $782 million, a gain of 25% over 2004.

Teva has had less success with a treatment for Parkinson's disease, known as Azilect outside the U.S. and as Agilect inside the U.S., where the drug

remains under review by the Food and Drug Administration. "The process is taking longer than we expected," Makov told analysts Tuesday in a telephone conference call. The drug is available in eight European markets.

By midmorning, Teva's stock was down 56 cents, or 1.3%, to $42.24.