(By Balachander) Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE: BMY) is expected to report lower earnings for the fourth quarter when the pharmaceutical products company reports results on Thursday.
Wall Street analysts, on average, expect BMY's earnings per share to fall 19 percent to 43 cents and revenue to decline 24 percent to $4.15 billion for the three month period.
BMO Capital Markets expects slightly lower EPS of $0.41 owing to the lack of R&D tax credit in 2012 and in-line revenue of $4.12 billion.
The company's principal products include Plavix for protection against fatal or non-fatal heart attack or stroke; Avapro/Avalide to treat hypertension and diabetic nephropathy; Eliquis to treat venous thromboembolic disorders and stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation
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"We expect a mostly in-line quarter, but the focus of the call will likely be on the launch progress of Eliquis," BMO analyst Alex Arfaei wrote in a note. "Investors will look for updates on access, a more precise US launch date, and the company's longer-term outlook."
Based on Eliquis's best-in-class label and launch price, Arfaei does not anticipate significant access barriers in the US. Moreover, the analyst expects the US launch by the end of January/mid-February.
"Other areas of focus include secondary growth drivers Yervoy, Sprycel and Orencia, and we expect all will meet or exceed expectations," the analyst said.
Arfaei said investors will look for signs of improvement from the Exenatide franchise (from the Amylin acquisition) as a result of improved access and promotion efforts, and updates on pipeline products, such as Dapa in the US, and incremental anti-PD1 data in 2013.
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For the full year, the company is projected to earn $1.96 a share on revenue of $17.56 billion.
During the current month, five analysts have recommended BMY as "Strong Buy" and two analysts gave a "Buy" rating, while 12 analysts have a "Hold" rating on the stock. There is no analyst who recommends "Sell" on the stock.
In the preceding third quarter, Bristol Myers posted a GAAP loss of 43 cents a share versus a profit of 56 cents last year. Non-GAAP EPS of 41 cents were 33 percent lower than the year-ago period. Sales dropped 30 percent to $3.74 billion following the U.S. patent expiration of Avapro/Avalide in March 2012 and Plavix in May 2012.
Over the past year, shares of BMY have been trading between $30.64 and $36.34.