2 Drug Makers' Earnings Increase

From Reuters and Bloomberg News

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Pharmacia Corp. on Wednesday posted double-digit earnings growth for the second quarter on surging sales of key medicines, while ongoing plant woes strapped fellow U.S. drug maker Schering-Plough Corp. with stagnant results.

Bristol-Myers reported a 10% rise in quarterly profit to $1.1 billion, or 56 cents a share, driven by cost-cutting and robust sales of prescription medicines such as Glucophage for diabetes and anti-clotting drug Plavix.

The New York company's results were in line with Wall Street forecasts, according to research firm First Call/Thomson Financial.

Sales for Bristol-Myers, which recently agreed to acquire DuPont Co.'s pharmaceutical unit in a move to focus on core prescription drugs, rose 7% to $4.71 billion.

Sales of the company's Glucophage family of diabetes treatments surged 57% and sales of its cholesterol-lowering Pravachol rose 10% to $448 million despite tougher competition.

Pharmacia said profit grew 20% to $844 million, or 63 cents a share, on cost savings from last year's merger with drug maker and agricultural biotech company Monsanto Co. and surging sales of treatments for cancer, incontinence and arthritis.

The Peapack, N.J., company, which makes blockbuster arthritis drug Celebrex and glaucoma medicine Xalatan, met analyst forecasts.

Revenue rose 5% to $5.4 billion. Sales of Pharmacia's flagship drug Celebrex rose 13% and sales of its cancer drug Camptosar jumped 62%.

Schering-Plough, meanwhile, said earnings were flat from a year ago at $634 million, or 43 cents a share, as quality-control problems at plants in New Jersey and Puerto Rico curtailed production of respiratory drugs and other products.

The Kenilworth, N.J., company said sales were virtually flat at $2.63 billion. Sales of Claritin, the world's top-selling allergy drug, rose 3% to $925 million.

Schering-Plough forecast in late June that it would earn 43 cents per share in the second quarter, and analysts lowered the consensus forecast accordingly.

Bristol-Myers shares gained $2.08 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, closing at $56.77, while Pharmacia's stock ended the day up 12 cents to $42.12. Schering-Plough slipped 75 cents to close at $37.20. The American Stock Exchange pharmaceutical index closed up 0.83% at 386.71.

Other earnings, excluding one-time gains or charges unless noted, include:

* Generic drug maker Ivax Corp. said profit more than doubled to $67.9 million, or 33 cents a share, surpassing forecasts of 26 cents, on demand for its version of Bristol-Myers' cancer therapy Taxol. Sales climbed 63% to $301.8 million.

* Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. said slow advertising sales contributed to lower second-quarter earnings and may hurt full-year profit. Earnings fell 13% to $5.2 million, or 11 cents a share, matching forecasts, as revenue edged up 0.7% to $69.7 million.

* Mylan Laboratories Inc. said profit nearly tripled to $50.6 million, or 40 cents a share, exceeding expectations of 31 cents, boosted by sales of its version of Bristol-Myers's BuSpar anti-anxiety treatment. The generic drug maker's revenue rose 42% to $237.9 million.

* Park Place Entertainment Corp., the largest casino company, said second-quarter profit fell 17% to $48 million, or 16 cents a share, missing forecasts by a penny, as higher energy costs and lower house winnings cut into profit at its Nevada and New Jersey casinos. Revenue crept up 1.7% to $1.22 billion.

* Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., the second-largest cruise operator, said second-quarter earnings fell a less-than-expected 13% to $93.7 million, or 49 cents a share, as it reduced costs to offset a drop in fares and higher fuel prices. Revenue rose 21% to $821.7 million. Analysts on average were expecting earnings of 31 cents.

* Texaco Inc., the third-largest oil company, said second-quarter earnings rose 27% to $817 million, or $1.50 a share, well above analyst expectations of $1.27, on improved returns from oil refining and higher natural-gas prices. Texaco, which is being acquired by Chevron Corp., said revenue rose 6.6% to $12.9 billion.

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