Tag Archive | "Pfizer"

Disappointing first quarter sales overshadow Pfizer’s pursuit of AstraZeneca


Pfizer has reported quarterly revenue well below Wall Street expectations on falling sales of key brands and generic drugs.

The figures underscored its interest in pursuing a $106 billion bid for rival AstraZeneca to promote new business growth.

Pfizer said it raised its bid last week in response to what it had heard from AstraZeneca shareholders and believed it to be a “compelling” offer.

AstraZeneca quickly rejected the sweetened bid, saying it “substantially” undervalued the company, and has  declined to comment on Pfizer’s substantial revenue shortfall in the first quarter.

“We are very disappointed with their unwillingness to engage in conversations,” Pfizer chief executive Officer Ian Read said of AstraZeneca’s management.

Pfizer said total first-quarter revenue fell 9% to $11.35 billion, which was $730m below Wall Street expectations. Revenue would have fallen 6%, if not for the stronger dollar, which lowers the value of sales outside the US.

To assuage concerns about potential layoffs of researchers in Britain, Pfizer vowed that 20% of the research and development workforce of a combined company would remain in the UK. That created fears that US researchers would bear the brunt of expected job cuts.

Read, on a conference call with analysts, said the company will maintain “a massive presence” of researchers in the US, but did not provide specifics.

The largest US drugmaker earned $2.33 billion, or 36 cents per share, in the quarter. That compared with $2.75 billion, or 38 cents, the same time last year, when the company reported gains from the transfer of product rights.

Excluding special items, Pfizer earned 57 cents per share. Analysts, on average, expected 55 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Pfizer said it still expects 2014 adjusted earnings of $2.20 to $2.30 per share, but the forecast assumes that painkiller Celebrex will not face US generic competition this year. Sales of the drug fell 4% to $624m in the quarter, and could be jeopardised by ongoing US patent battles in the United States.

Analysts said that a number Pfizer’s key medicines, including Celebrex and impotence treatment Viagra “undershot” sales hopes in the quarter.

Global sales of cholesterol fighter Lipitor, which is now facing cheaper US generics, also disappointed.

Pfizer first approached AstraZeneca in January with an offer that valued AstraZeneca at £46.61 a share. It made its second spurned approach on April 26, with an offer valued at £50 a share.

If the merger goes through, it would be the largest acquisition of a British company by a foreign business.

Under British takeover rules, Pfizer has until May 26 to announce a firm intention to make an offer or give up.

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Pfizer opens $30m lab at Ringaskiddy


 

Pfizer has opened a new $30 million unit at its Ringaskiddy facility.

The New Product Technology Laboratory will allow the Cork plant to begin making drugs from the company’s R&D pipeline for the clinical trial phase, adding to the capability of the Irish operation.

The investment was announced last year as part of a $130 million investment in the US pharma giant’s Irish network and has been a fillip for what is Pfizer’s oldest manufacturing plant in Ireland

The official opening this morning comes as Pfizer attempts to persuade Britain’s second-largest pharma group, AstraZeneca, of the virtues of a takeover.

AstraZeneca warned last night that “bigger is not always better” as it launched its defence against Pfizer’s £60 billion approach. However, some of the UK company’s biggest shareholders signalled they would be open to a takeover at the right price.

Leif Johansson, AstraZeneca chairman, highlighted the mixed record of big mergers in the pharmaceuticals industry as he urged investors to keep faith with the company’s drive to revive growth by developing new drugs on its own.

However, several big shareholders said they would support a deal if Pfizer raised its offer, and that they would not be influenced by political concerns over what would be the biggest foreign takeover in UK history.

In Ringaskiddy this morning, Minister for Research and Innovation Seán Sherlock said: “The opening of this new facility will enable the site to manufacture more complex drugs and those drugs that are in earlier stages of development.

He said IDA Ireland support for such projects confirmed that the Government was taking the right steps to ensure that Ireland is a key location “for companies like Pfizer to expand and grow their business, and ultimately, create new jobs”.

Seamus Fives, site leader at Ringaskiddy, said it was “fantastic to see the work at the site evolve into high-tech manufacturing”.

“The site commenced with the manufacture of citric acid in 1969 and it is now manufacturing some of Pfizer’s newest and most complex medicines for global export,” Mr Fives said at the official opening this morning. “This is fantastic recognition of the dedication and commitment of colleagues on site.”

The company noted that it involved not just an investment in new equipment “but also an increase and deepening of R&D skills”.

Pfizer country head Paul Duffy said the new unit means Ringaskiddy will be in a position to compete for development work on Pfizer’s pipeline products – which currently number from than 80 in areas such as vaccines for two deadly hospital-acquired infections, new antibodies for lupus and high cholesterol and the next-generation cancer drugs.

“There is opportunity for Pfizer’s Irish sites to attract the development of new medicines, while also continuing to manufacture existing, important medicines,” said Dr Duffy.

Pfizer currently employs around 3,200 people across its six Irish sites. The Cork investment is not expected to lead to additional jobs but will likely bolster the plant against the prospect of further job losses. – Additional reporting, the Financial Times service

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