is a company whose stock has become virtually bulletproof, even though its corporate performance has been riddled with setbacks.

For the sixth consecutive quarter, the generic-drug company had earnings that fell below Wall Street's estimates. Andrx, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., reported a second-quarter profit of 2 cents a share, well short of the 17-cent estimate of analysts polled by Thomson First Call.

The second-quarter results were released about two hours after the markets closed on Tuesday. Yet the stock barely budged early Wednesday. In fact, Andrx shares rose 6 cents to $23.85. The reason is fairly simple -- Andrx shareholders are still waiting for government approval of a $25-a-share takeover bid from

Watson Pharmaceuticals



The Federal Trade Commission continues to review the $1.9 billion cash bid that was made in March. Since then, Andrx' shares have traded in a narrow range just below the proposed acquisition price. Executives of Watson and Andrx say they expect to close the deal in a few months. Andrx shareholders voted for the takeover in June.

For the three months ended June 30, Andrx earned $1.44 million on revenue of $254.8 million. For the same period last year, it earned $8 million, or 11 cents a share, on revenue of $261.7 million.

The performance was affected primarily by the Food and Drug Administration's refusal to approve any new drug applications until Andrx rectifies manufacturing problems at a plant in Davie, Fla. Watson is well aware of the matter, and it has said the manufacturing matter isn't a deal-breaker.

"We believe we continue to make considerable progress improving our compliance" with FDA manufacturing guidelines," said Thomas P. Rice, CEO of Andrx, in a prepared statement issued Tuesday. Company representatives met with the FDA on July 25 to discuss their efforts.