Reuters

(Reuters)

Pfizer's 2015 Forecast Disappoints, Crimped by Generics, Dollar

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Pfizer Inc (PFE) reported stronger-than-expected quarterly sales due to cost cuts and demand for its vaccines and cancer drugs, but the company forecast 2015 earnings below Wall Street expectations, citing patent expirations and the stronger dollar.

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The largest U.S. drugmaker said on Tuesday that it earned $1.23 billion, or 19 cents per share, in the fourth quarter. That compared with $2.57 billion, or 39 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding special items, Pfizer earned 54 cents per share. Analysts on average expected 53 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Pfizer forecast 2015 earnings of $2.00 to $2.10 per share, excluding special items. Wall Street had been expecting $2.18.

Shares of Pfizer were down 0.6 percent at $32.60 in premarket trading.

Revenue fell 3 percent to $13.1 billion but exceeded analysts' estimates of $12.9 billion.

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In May, the company gave up its six-month pursuit of British rival AstraZeneca after its final $118 billion bid was rejected. It had hoped to base the combined entity in Britain, which has lower taxes than the United States, in a maneuver called tax inversion.

Many industry analysts said Pfizer also went after AstraZeneca to bolster its own relatively weak pipeline of experimental drugs in later stages of testing, and because cost cuts following a big merger would have propped up earnings.

U.S. rival AbbVie in October gave up its $55 billion quest to buy Dublin drugmaker Shire Plc because new U.S. Treasury tax rules made that tax-inversion deal less attractive.

(Reporting by Ransdell Pierson; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)