(Reuters) – Amgen Inc (AMGN.O) on Thursday forecast 2020 earnings well short of current Wall Street estimates, sending shares of the largest U.S. biotechnology company down 3%.

FILE PHOTO: An Amgen sign is seen at the company’s office in South San Francisco, California in this October 21, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith/Files/File Photo

For the full year, the company forecast earnings of $14.85 to $15.60 per share on revenue as high as $25.6 billion. Analysts had estimated 2020 adjusted earnings of $16.14 on revenue of $25.5 billion, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

A company official attributed the difference to lower interest income and Amgen’s recently acquired 20.5% stake in China’s BeiGene Ltd (6160.HK), which is not yet profitable.

For the fourth quarter of last year, Amgen said its sales fell 2% from a year earlier due to competition from lower-cost generic drugs and biosimilars, but share buybacks enabled the company to post a profit that topped Wall Street estimates.

Sales for the quarter totaled $5.88 billion. Total revenue fell 1% to $6.2 billion, which was ahead of the average analyst estimate of $6.06 billion.

Quarterly adjusted earnings per share rose 6% to $3.64, beating the average Wall Street estimate of $3.48.

Net earnings fell 5% to $2.85 per share due to higher operating costs partially offset by a lower share count.

Sales of older drugs such as white blood cell booster Neulasta and kidney drug Sensipar fell sharply due to competition from cheaper versions. Neulasta was down 43% at $665 million and Sensipar sales were off by 76% at $107 million.

Sales of newer drugs like cholesterol fighter Repatha and migraine drug Aimovig rose. Repatha was up by 26% to $200 million, while Aimovig rose 3% to $98 million in the quarter.

Amgen said it bought back around 6% of its outstanding shares last year.

Shares of the company were down $7.15, or 3.2%, at $219 in after hours trading.

Reporting By Deena Beasley; Editing by Bill Berkrot


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