Pfizer fourth-quarter earnings beat expectations By

© Reuters — Pfizer (NYSE:) has posted a surprise profit in the fourth quarter and backed its current-year financial guidance despite incurring a steep charge related to the pharmaceutical giant’s COVID offerings.

New York City-based Pfizer reported an adjusted diluted earnings per share of $0.10 in the three months ended on Dec. 31, better than Bloomberg consensus estimates for a loss of $0.19. Shares in the drugmaker were slightly higher in premarket trading on Tuesday.

A $5 billion drop in three-month revenues from Paxlovid — Pfizer’s COVID-19 medication — compared to the same period last year was less severe than analysts had initially expected. The return of an estimated 6.5 million treatment courses by the U.S. government was partly offset by sales in “traditional commercial markets,” Pfizer noted.

But the company flagged that it was “significantly impacted” by $5.6B in non-cash write-offs linked to its inventory of COVID-19 products. Meanwhile, revenues from Pfizer’s mRNA-based COVID vaccine developed with Germany’s BioNTech (NASDAQ:) slumped by $6.1B, or more than 50% year-on-year. it was a fresh sign of waning post-pandemic demand for the jab, which is sold under the brand name Comirnaty.

Pfizer has been attempting to shift away from its reliance on COVID products, a major pillar of its total sales, by focusing on growing its pipeline of treatments. Most recently, the firm completed a $43B acquisition of cancer drugmaker Seagen in December, a move than Chief Executive Albert Bourla said would help Pfizer achieve “world-class” leadership in oncology.

Bourla struck an upbeat tone about Pfizer’s broader outlook, saying in a statement that he was encouraged by what he described as “strong performance” in its non-COVID products. When excluding Comirnaty and Paxlovid, revenues grew 8% operationally.

The group reaffirmed its 2024 guidance for adjusted diluted per-share income of $2.05 to $2.25 on revenues of $58.5B to $61.5B.

“We are entering 2024 with a solid foundation. We believe our commitment to execution, maximizing the performance of our new products, and delivering the next wave of pipeline innovation will fuel Pfizer’s growth,” Bourla said.

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