Updated from 5:36 p.m. EDTDrugmaker Wyeth ( WYE) projected healthy earnings Thursday, saying its third-quarter results will top Wall Street's estimate and full-year earnings could also come in above forecasts. Commenting after markets had closed, Wyeth estimated third-quarter earnings per share will be in the mid- to upper-70-cent range, above analysts' mean estimate of 72 cents. Comparable earnings a year earlier were 76 cents a share. Wyeth also reiterated its forecast for full-year earnings of $2.80 to $2.90 a share, excluding charges, but noted that 2005 results will "more than likely" meet or exceed the top end of that range if current trends continue. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call have a mean estimate for earnings of $2.92 a share. Wyeth had already raised its full-year targets in June from its original guidance of $2.70 to $2.80 a share. The Madison, N.J., company's forecasts exclude restructuring charges and a planned charge related to repatriating earnings from foreign subsidiaries under a tax-holiday law signed by President George Bush last year. The law enables repatriation at a sharply reduced tax rate. Ken Martin, the chief financial officer, told analysts in a late afternoon telephone conference call, that Wyeth would take a third-quarter charge of 11 cents to 16 cents for repatriating earnings from foreign subsidiaries. He didn't say how much money was affected. Wyeth will repatriate "all that we are allowed to do," Martin said. Many other big drug and biotech companies already have identified how much they plan to repatriate. Martin also said Wyeth would take a charge of 3 cents to 5 cents in the third quarter for restructuring. He provided no details. Martin said the third quarter would be better than expected because "business continues to be good." He didn't identify any products that led to the improved performance. Part of the third quarter's gain will be due to a lower tax rate thanks to the resolution of "certain tax issues," he said. Third-quarter results will be announced Oct. 21.
Martin said the fourth quarter EPS may below the 68-cent Wall Street consensus. The fourth quarter's tax rate will be higher than reduced tax rate from the same period last year, he said. For 2006, Wyeth expects earnings will rise in the high single-digit range from 2005, assuming an adjustment of about 17 cents a share related to expensing stock options. According to Thomson First Call, analysts project 2006 earnings of $3.12 a share. In regular trading, Wyeth's stock closed at 46.07, down 1 cent. In after-hours trading, the stock rose 43 cents.