Kos Pharmaceuticals

(KOSP)

Wednesday capped a record year by beating fourth-quarter earnings expectations, but its shares fell because of disappointing first-quarter guidance.

Shares were down $3.14, or 5.3%, to $56.27 after the company said it expected to earn 25 cents to 30 cents a share in the first quarter, because of a "significant increase in operating expenses," which is well below the Thomson First Call consensus of 39 cents a share.

Kos also forecast earnings of $2.10 to $2.20 a share for the year, above the consensus view of $2.09 a share.

Net income during the fourth quarter more than tripled to $20.9 million, or 49 cents a share, compared with $6.1 million, or 18 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts expected 44 cents a share. Revenue increased 59% to a record $87.3 million, from $55 million a year ago.

For 2003, Kos had a record profit of $59 million, or $1.53 cents a share, its first ever full-year of operating profitability. The company lost $20.8 million, or $1.01 a share, in 2002.

Sales of the Miami-based company's cholesterol drugs, Niaspan and Advicor, drove results.