Watson 2011 Earnings Jump On Generics

The Parsippany, N.J., company said its generic versions of J&J and Pfizer medicines help its revenue jump 28 percent over 2010.

PARSIPPANY, N.J. (AP) — Generic drugmaker Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Tuesday its 2011 adjusted earnings per share increased about 39 percent compared to 2010, as the launch of some key products boosted revenue.

The Parsippany, N.J., company announced adjusted earnings of between $4.75 and $4.77 on about $4.57 billion in revenue for the full year.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected, on average, earnings of $4.62 per share on $4.53 billion in revenue.

Watson said revenue grew about 28 percent compared to 2010. The launch of a generic version of Johnson & Johnson's attention deficit hyperactivity disorder drug Concerta helped drive global generic sales.

The company said earnings grew about 20 percent last year excluding the launch of a generic version of Pfizer Inc.'s cholesterol fighter Lipitor. Watson said Nov. 30 it had launched an authorized generic version of Lipitor, the top-selling drug ever with nearly $11 billion in sales last year.

Pfizer, the world's largest drugmaker, will make the drug and supply all doses to Watson, which will then sell it in the United States. Pfizer will keep an estimated 70 percent of the price.

Watson also expects 2012 adjusted earnings of between $5.25 and $5.55 per share on revenue of about $5.3 billion. Analysts expect, on average, earnings of $5.76 per share on $5.29 billion in revenue.

Watson also announced Tuesday before its investor meeting in New York that it will buy Ascent Pharmahealth Ltd., the Australian and Southeast Asian generic drug business of Strides Arcolab Ltd., for 375 million Australian dollars in cash (about $394 million). The deal makes Watson the fifth largest generic drugmaker in Australia, the largest in Singapore and helps it gain an established commercial base in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Thailand.

Watson expects the acquisition to immediately help its 2012 adjusted earnings.

The company's shares dropped $1.18, or 2.1 percent, to $56.03 in premarket trading.

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