Earnings: Pfizer, American Express, Texas Instruments

Earnings: Pfizer | American Express | Texas Instruments

Pfizer Profit More Than Triples After Sale Of Consumer Division

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Pfizer Inc. (PFE) said Monday its quarterly profit more than tripled on the sale of its consumer health business, although revenue was flat amid lower sales of its Lipitor cholesterol fighter and generic competition for several medicines.

The drugmaker, which meets with analysts later in the day to discuss future strategy, earned $9.45 billion in the fourth quarter, or $1.32 per share, compared with $2.73 billion, or 37 cents per share, a year earlier.

The strong results were due to Pfizer's $16.6 billion cash sale of its consumer health products, including such brands as Listerine mouthwash and Sudafed allergy drug, last month to Johnson & Johnson (JNJ).

Excluding the sale and other one-time items, the world's largest drug maker earned 43 cents per share, representing a 12 percent decline. Analysts, on average, expected 42 cents, according to Reuters Estimates.

Pfizer revenue of $12.6 billion, although little different than the year-ago quarter, topped the $12.27 billion Reuters Estimates forecast.

Sales of Lipitor, which remains the world's top-selling drug, slipped 1 percent to $3.34 billion due in part to competition from far-cheaper generic forms of Merck & Co's (MRK) Zocor.

Impotence-treatment Viagra posted quarterly sales of $450 million, a 5 percent gain, while revenue from allergy drug Zyrtec jumped 14 percent to $374 million. Zyrtec is sold in partnership with Belgian drugmaker UCB.

Sales of arthritis treatment Celebrex rose 15 percent to $540 million, continuing its recovery from earlier declines that had been spurred by safety concerns.

But sales of antibiotic Zithromax plunged 73 percent to $109 million, and sales of anti-depressant Zoloft fell 79 percent to $166 million, due to patent expirations that made them prey to cheaper generics.

American Express Profit Higher, But Below Views

(AP) - American Express Co. (AXP) on Monday reported stronger holiday shopping and a reduction in bankruptcy write-offs helped lift fourth-quarter profit by 24 percent, but revenue fell below Wall Street projections.

The New York-based financial and travel services company reported a profit of $922 million, or 75 cents per share, for the September-December period, compared with $745 million, or 59 cents per share, a year earlier.

The year-ago period included results before the sale of its banking business in Brazil. Excluding that business and other discontinued operations, the company reported fourth-quarter profit rose to $925 million, or 76 cents per share, from $751 million, or 60 cents per share, a year earlier.

This matched Wall Street projections for earnings of 76 cents per share, according to analysts polled by Thomson Financial.

The No.4 U.S. credit-card issuer said stronger spending by cardholders during the holiday season pushed revenue up 13 percent to $7.21 billion from $6.38 billion a year earlier. Analysts expected revenue of $7.33 billion during the period.

"Our strong revenue and earnings this quarter were driven by record cardmember spending during the holiday shopping season and continued growth in our loan portfolio," said Chairman and Chief Executive Kenneth I. Chenault in a statement.

The results included $64 million in costs related primarily to restructuring initiatives throughout the company, which was about even with the year-ago period. The quarter also included a $68 million pretax gain related to the rebalancing of its investment portfolio.

American Express has been among the better performing companies in the credit-card industry, and expanded last year by striking up deals to issue its cards with major U.S. banks.

The company said it was also helped by lower default rates from its customers as new U.S. bankruptcy laws make it harder for consumers to avoid paying debt.

Profit in 2006 slipped 1 percent to $3.71 billion, or $2.99 per share, from $3.73 billion, or $2.97, in the previous year. However, this decline was because AmEx spun off financial services unit Ameriprise Financial Inc. in 2005.

Stripping out Ameriprise and other discontinued operations, the company reported profit rose 16 percent to $3.73 billion, or $3.01 per share, from $3.22 billion, or $2.56 per share, in 2005.

American Express shares fell 17 cents to $57.94 in afternoon trading on the . The stock rose 18 percent last year, and posted a 52-week high of $62.50. Ameriprise, which reports results on Thursday, fell 64 cents to $56.96.

Texas Instruments Profit Higher, But Outlook Disappoints

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Texas Instruments Inc. (TXN), the world's No. 1 cellphone chip maker, on Monday posted a better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit thanks to a tax credit, and shares rose 2 percent in after-hours trading.

But its current-quarter forecast disappointed as the company said growth was skewed toward low-priced phones.

It said its fourth-quarter profit was $668 million, or 45 cents a share, compared with $655 million, or 40 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter.

Shares in TI, which makes chips for everything from calculators to the latest high-tech televisions, rose to $29.18 in after-market trading from its close of $28.59 on the New York Stock Exchange.

TI said its profit was bolstered by a 5 cent per share federal research tax credit and a 1 cent gain from new patent license agreements that replaced previously expired pacts.

Revenue rose to $3.46 billion from $3.32 billion.

In December, TI cut its forecast for earnings per share from continuing operations to a range of 37 cents to 40 cents, and cut its revenue target to a range of $3.35 billion to $3.50 billion citing weak demand.

The company said its challenges would continue in the first quarter because customers want lower levels of inventory and growth in the wireless market is skewed to low-priced cell phones instead of higher-priced, full-featured phones.

Texas Instruments said it expects first-quarter earnings per share of 28 cents to 34 cents on revenue of $2.95 billion to $3.2 billion.

On average analysts had expected first-quarter earnings of 35 cents a share on revenue of $3.3 billion.

Its shares have fallen almost 16 percent in the last four months on investor concern that wireless industry growth is increasingly dependent on the sale of cheaper phones in emerging markets.