Schering-Plough Profit Up on Drug Strength

Monday, January 30th 2006, 9:48 am
By: News On 6

KENILWORTH, N.J. (AP) _ Schering-Plough Corp. posted a fourth-quarter profit on Monday, largely on the strength of its cholesterol-fighting drugs and lower income taxes.

The drug maker moved to a profit of $104 million, or 7 cents per share, from a loss of $856 million, or 58 cents per share, during the same period last year. Those figures are after a preferred stock dividend payment of $22 million in both quarters. The year-ago period reflects a tax provision of $807 million, or 55 cents per share, related primarily to repatriating overseas profits under a law that allowed for a sharply lower tax rate.

Revenue increased 6 percent to $2.32 billion from $2.18 billion. However, Schering-Plough does not record sales of cholesterol drugs sold through a partnership with Merck & Co. in this top-line revenue figure. Including an assumed 50 percent of these sales, Schering said revenue would have been $2.7 billion, a 13 percent increase.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for earnings of 8 cents per share on sales of $2.39 billion.

The cholesterol-product sales growth came from the introduction of Vytorin, launched in the third quarter of 2004, and Zetia, the company said.

Schering-Plough said its Remicade, Peg-Intron, Nasonex and Temodar drugs also posted growth. Remicade, a rheumatoid arthritis drug that is the company's top seller, saw sales grow 10 percent to $1.91 billion.

For the year, Schering-Plough earned $183 million, or 12 cents per share, on sales of $9.51 billion.