Pfizer's 3Q Results Exceed Forecasts, Lead to Upgraded Outlook

Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) revealed a stronger-than-expected surge in third-quarter profits on Tuesday, triggering an upgraded 2011 profit forecast and buyback program.

The New York-based blue-chip company said it earned $3.74 billion, or 48 cents a share, last quarter, compared with a profit of $866 million, or 11 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, it earned 62 cents a share, exceeding forecast for 56 cents.

Revenue jumped 7.4% to $17.2 billion, topping the Street’s view of $16.42 billion. Domestic sales were up 3% and represented 40% of its total, while international sales climbed 4%.

“Overall, I am very pleased with our financial performance despite the impact of product losses of exclusivity totaling approximately $950 million this quarter and the challenges posed by current global market and economic conditions,” CEO Ian Read said in a statement.

The upbeat results led Pfizer’s management to boost its full-year guidance. The company now sees fiscal 2011 non-GAAP EPS of $2.24 to $2.29 on revenue of $66.2 billion to $67.2 billion. Analysts had been forecasting EPS of $2.25 on revenue of $66.5 billion.

Pfizer also upped its 2011 share repurchase target to a range of $7 billion to $9 billion.

Almost all of Pfizer’s business units reported sales growth, including an 18% leap in emerging markets revenue to $2.44 billion and a 5% rise in primary care sales to $5.95 billion. Nutrition revenue soared 31% to $577 million and animal health sales climbed 21% to $1.04 billion. However, oncology revenue fell 1% to $332 million.