Despite a plunge in sales of its blockbuster Enbrel drug, biopharmaceutical giant Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) reported a year-over-year increase in first-quarter profit.
Excluding items, the company posted earnings of $3.15 per share, representing a 9% increase on a yearly basis and topping Wall Street estimates of $2.99 per share.
Sales of Enbrel, its rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis drug, slid 15% to $1.18 billion, primarily due to lower demand and increased competition.
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Amgen, however, expects Enbrel sales to recover in the coming quarters based on recent weekly demand points.
Sales of the company’s new cholesterol drug Repantha fell short of analyst estimates at $49 million, while sales of other key medicines such as osteoporosis drug Prolia and anti-cancer drug Kyprolis rose 21% and 23%, respectively, during the period.
Overall, revenues fell 1% year over year to $5.64 billion.
The earnings increase was also driven by effective cost controls.
During the period, Amgen reduced total operating expenses by 7% to $2.46 billion, reflecting savings from process improvement efforts.
“We are well positioned for the long term with our newer products demonstrating volume growth around the world and our tight operational expense management of the company,” Amgen Chairman and CEO Robert Bradway said in an April 26 release.
Amgen generated free cash flow of $2.2 billion in the quarter, up from $1.8 billion a year earlier.
The company also bought back 3.4 million shares for $555 million and it had $3.5 billion remaining under its stock repurchase authorization at the end of the period.
In March, Amgen declared a quarterly dividend of $1.15 per share, which will be distributed on June 8 to shareholders on record as of May 17.
For the full year 2017, Amgen expects to generate total revenues of between $22.3 billion and $23.1 billion, unchanged from the earlier guidance.
EPS, meanwhile, will range from $12 to $12.60, compared to $11.80 to $12.60 previously.
Capital expenditures are expected to come in at about $700 million.
Amgen’s biggest shareholder as of the end of 2016 is Capital Research Global Investors, which held 65.5 million shares in the company valued at $9.57 billion.
Vanguard Inc. is another key shareholder, which owned 48.1 million shares in Amgen valued at $7.03 billion as of the end of the same period.
Amgen shares dipped 0.05% to close at $164.61.