Schering-Plough Swings to Profit

Earnings are better than expected and the company says its turnaround is on track.
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swung to a small profit in the third quarter from a charge-laden year-ago period, beating estimates, and said its 2005 turnaround plan remains on schedule.

The company earned $26 million, or 1 cent a share, in the three months to Sept. 30, compared with a loss of $265 million, or 18 cents a share, last year. Revenue fell 1% from a year ago to $1.98 billion. Analysts had been forecasting a loss of 1 cent a share on revenue of $1.93 billion in the quarter.

Among its bigger sellers, Schering-Plough said sales of its cholesterol treatments, which include Vytorin and Zetia, more than doubled to $344 million in the quarter compared with last year; sales of its anti-inflammatory Remmicade rose 33% to $188 million; sales of Claritin were roughly flat at $110 million; Clarinex sales rose 3% to $175 million; and sales of hepatitis C treatment Peg-Intron fell 23% to $132 million.

"There is still much work ahead for Schering-Plough," the company said in a release. "But we are making steady progress in the Stabilization and Repair phases of our Action Agenda and continue to look forward to the anticipated turnaround."

Schering-Plough reiterated that it continues to expect full-year 2004 earnings to be below those of 2003.