Sun | Nov 29, 2020

Pfizer revenue dips, earnings fall

Published:Wednesday | October 28, 2020 | 12:11 AM
Pfizer signs mounted in front of the Pfizer Research & Development Laboratories in Groton, Connecticut.
Pfizer signs mounted in front of the Pfizer Research & Development Laboratories in Groton, Connecticut.

Drugmaker Pfizer saw its third-quarter profit plunge 71 per cent, mainly due to an US$8.1-billion gain a year earlier from selling its consumer health care business to a GlaxoSmithKline joint venture, but managed to top Wall Street expectations.

Meanwhile, the New York-based company on Tuesday said disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic reduced medicine sales in the United States and China by about US$500 million. Still, Pfizer raised and narrowed its profit forecasts slightly for all of 2020.

Pfizer, one of the leaders in the race to develop a vaccine against COVID-19, said the final-stage trial of its vaccine candidate has now enrolled nearly all of the planned 44,000 participants worldwide. Nearly 36,000 had received the second shot of the two-dose vaccine as of Monday. The company could seek approval for emergency use from US regulators in late November.

Pfizer already has contracts with the United States, the European Union and about 10 countries to supply hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccine next year, assuming it wins approval.

The maker of the world’s top-selling vaccine, Prevnar 13 for preventing pneumonia and related bacterial diseases, reported net income of US$2.2 billion, or 39 cents per share, down from US$7.7 billion, or US$1.36 per share, in 2019’s third quarter.

Excluding one-time items, adjusted income came to US$4.1 billion, or 72 cents per share. That beat Wall Street expectations by 2 cents, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research.

Revenue totalled US$12.1 billion, down four per cent from US$12.7 billion in the year-ago quarter.

Pfizer said it now expects 2020 adjusted earnings per-share of US$2.88 to US$2.93, tweaked from its July forecast of US$2.85 to US$2.95. It expects revenue of US$48.8 billion to US$49.5 billion, narrowed from its previous forecast of US$48.6 billion to US$50.6 billion.

The biggest US drugmaker by revenue is in the process of spinning off its established products business, which sells mostly off-patent medicines, to combine it with generic drugmaker Mylan.

That deal is expected to close by year end, leaving Pfizer roughly 20 per cent smaller, nimbler and more focused on developing innovative medicines. Pfizer expects to be able to grow revenue at least six per cent annually through 2025 as a result of the transformation.