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Pfizer fourth-quarter net profit sees a jump on sale of nutrition business

NEW YORK--Pfizer Inc.'s fourth-quarter profit more than quadrupled, despite competition from generic drugs hurting sales of Lipitor and other medicines, because of a US$4.8 billion gain from selling its nutrition business. The drugmaker's profit and sales both beat Wall Street expectations.

The world's biggest drugmaker said Tuesday that its net income was US$6.32 billion, or 85 cents per share, up from US$1.44 billion, or 19 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding the windfall from selling its nutrition business to Nestle SA for US$11.5 billion on Nov. 30, and a total of US$888 million for restructuring, legal and other one-time items, the Viagra maker would have had a profit of US$3.51 billion, or 47 cents per share. That's 3 cents more than analysts surveyed by FactSet were expecting.

In early trading, the New York-based company's shares rose 26 cents, or 1 percent, to US$27.10.

Revenue fell 7 percent to US$15.1 billion, mainly due to generic competition to cholesterol blockbuster Lipitor. Analysts expected US$14.35 billion.

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In this Jan. 31, 2011 photo, the Pfizer logo is displayed at the drug company's world headquarters in New York. Pfizer Inc. said Tuesday, Jan. 29 that its fourth-quarter profit more than quadrupled, despite competition from generic drugs hurting sales, because of a US$4.8 billion gain from selling its nutrition business.(AP)

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