Global Sales Push Bristol-Myers' 1Q Profit Ahead of Estimates

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Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) said on Thursday that its first-quarter profit climbed 33% and toppled Wall Street estimates, led by global sales growth of its key drugs.

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The New York-based drug maker posted net earnings of $986 million, or 57 cents, compared with $743 million, or 43 cents a share, in the same quarter last year.

Excluding one-time items, the company earned 58 cents a share, ahead of average analyst estimates polled by Thomson Reuters of 53 cents.

Revenue for the biopharmaceutical company was $5 billion, up 4% from $4.8 billion a year ago, narrowly ahead of average analyst estimates polled by Thomson Reuters of $4.95 billion.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last month approved Yervoy as a treatment for newly diagnosed or previously-treated unresectable or metastatic melanoma. The drug became commercially available in April.

“Our string of achievements in the quarter is a good start to an exciting year in which we are anticipating several key regulatory decisions and the presentation of important data across our portfolio,” Bristol-Myers CEO Lamberto Andreotti said in a statement.

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During the quarter, the company’s Plavix, Baraclude, Sprycel and Orencia drugs saw global sales growth of 6%, 27%, 31% and 18%, respectively.

Bristol-Myers confirmed its 2011 non-GAAP earnings view in the range of $2.10 to $2.20 a share. Wall Street is looking for $2.18 a share.