Forest Laboratories ( FRX) Tuesday reported that fourth-quarter revenue topped analysts' predictions, while net income and earnings per share essentially matched the Wall Street consensus.

The New York-based drugmaker said it earned $145.5 million, or 38 cents a share, on sales of $733.1 million for the three months ended March 31. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were looking for fourth-quarter earnings of $143.9 million, or 38 cents a share, on revenue of $691.6 million.

For the same period last year, Forest earned $180.7 million, or 48 cents a share, on revenue of $628.5 million.

Forest attributed the 20% decline in earnings to a 50% increase in administrative expenses caused by a sales force expansion, primarily due to the launching of Namenda for Alzheimer's disease. Fourth-quarter income also was affected by a 57% increase in research and development expenses during the quarter, which included upfront payments to two companies for licensing programs.

Howard Solomon, Forest's chairman and chief executive, said he expected earnings for the current fiscal year -- which ends March 31, 2005 -- to be in the neighborhood of $2.35 to $2.50. The consensus of analysts polled by Thomson First Call is $2.41, with a range of $2.05 to $2.64.

For the full year ended March 31, Forest earned $735.9 million, or $1.95 a share, on revenue of $2.68 billion. The results came close to the Wall Street consensus of earnings of $735.5 million, or $1.95 a share, on revenue of $2.62 billion.

For the previous fiscal year, Forest earned $622 million, or $1.66 a share, on revenue of $2.25 billion.

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