Johnson & Johnson 1Q Profit Surpasses Estimates Amid Strong Drug Sales

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) reported surprising first-quarter earnings on Tuesday as demand for its global specialty and over-the-counter drugs increased and sales of baby products, Listerine and other consumer goods improved.

Also on Tuesday J&J confirmed its fiscal 2013 EPS guidance in the range of $5.35 to $5.45 excluding special items, which brackets the consensus view of $5.39.

The New Brunswick, N.J.-based pharmaceutical giant and manufacturer of consumer goods like soaps and shampoos reported quarterly net earnings of $3.5 billion, or $1.22 a share, down 10.6% compared with a year-earlier profit of $3.9 billion, or $1.41 a share.

Excluding one-time items, J&J said it earned $1.44 a share, topping average analyst estimates of $1.40 in a Thomson Reuters poll.

Revenue for the three-month period climbed 8.5% to $17.5 billion from $16.1 billion a year ago, beating the Street’s view of $17.42 billion. Consumer sales were up 2.2% to $3.7 billion, led by positive contributions from Tylenol, Motrin, Listerine and baby products.

Despite the increasing power of generic drugs in the industry known as the “patent cliff,” J&J said its pharmaceutical business saw sales jump 10.4% to $6.8 billion, led by a 14.7% improvement domestically as demand for blockbuster treatments like schizophrenia drug Invega Sustenna and rheumatoid arthritis treatment Simponi ramped up.

"We delivered solid first quarter results led by the success of many of our recently launched pharmaceutical products and the addition of Synthes to our orthopedics business," J&J CEO Alex Gorsky said in a statement. “Also of note is the growth in our over-the-counter medicines business as we continue to make progress in returning a reliable supply of high quality products to our customers.”

Shares of J&J climbed 1.5% premarket to $82.90.