Amgen yesterday reported a surge in third-quarter profit on double-digit growth of drugs to treat arthritis and anemia, but sales lagged...

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Amgen yesterday reported a surge in third-quarter profit on double-digit growth of drugs to treat arthritis and anemia, but sales lagged Wall Street forecasts, and its shares fell nearly 6 percent.

Sales of Enbrel for arthritis and the skin condition psoriasis jumped 35 percent to $668 million, edging expectations of $665 million. Enbrel was developed by Seattle-based Immunex, which Amgen bought in 2002.

“Enbrel has performed very well,” Amgen Chief Executive Kevin Sharer said in an interview. “We are highly confident that sales will reach at least $3 billion next year,” he said.

Sales of Aranesp, used to treat anemia in cancer and kidney-dialysis patients, rose 38 percent to $840 million but missed Wall Street’s forecast of about $860 million.

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Most of Amgen’s other top products fell shy of the figures Wall Street was looking for.

The world’s largest biotechnology company posted a profit of $967 million, or 77 cents a share, quadrupling from $236 million, or 18 cents a share, a year ago when it took large acquisition charges.

Excluding items, Amgen earned 85 cents a share, exceeding analysts’ expectations by 3 cents, according to a survey by Thomson Financial.

The Thousand Oaks, Calif., company said total product sales for the quarter grew 19 percent to $3 billion, with total revenue of $3.2 billion.

The results, released after the close of regular stock trading yesterday, pushed Amgen shares down $3.61, or 4.6 percent, to $74.48 in after-hours trading.


Quarterly sales soar, but outlook dims

Online auction pioneer eBay saw a 40 percent surge in third-quarter income, but warned of a reduced profit in the current quarter as it pays for recent acquisitions. Company shares fell 5.9 percent in late trading.

For the fourth quarter, eBay said it now expects earnings of 21 cents a share — 1 cent below the current Wall Street estimate — on sales of $1.25 billion to $1.29 billion, reflecting the impact of buying Internet phone provider Skype Technologies and the pending $370 million purchase of an online payment business from VeriSign.

In the third-quarter, eBay said it earned $255 million, or 18 cents a share, for the three months ended Sept. 30, compared with $182.3 million, or 13 cents a share a year earlier.

If not for one-time items, eBay said it would have earned $280.2 million, or 20 cents a share, matching analysts earnings-per-share expectations, according to Thomson Financial.

Sales for the period totaled $1.106 billion, a 37 percent increase from last year’s $805.9 million. Analysts expected revenue of $1.08 billion, according to Thomson.

The Internet bellwether released the results after the stock market closed yesterday. Its shares rose $1.59 to close at $42.01 yesterday, then fell $2.46 in extended trading.

American Airlines

Red ink reappears from jet-fuel costs

American Airlines reported a $153 million loss in the third quarter despite a 15 percent rise in revenue, as rising jet-fuel prices and tough competition from low-cost carriers took their toll.

American said it also expects to post a “significant” loss in the fourth quarter. Its chief executive said the results showed the need to accelerate cost-cutting moves.

The nation’s largest carrier said it lost 93 cents a share in the July-September period, versus a net loss of $214 million, or $1.33 a share in the year-ago quarter.

Excluding one-time charges and gains, the company said it would have lost $95 million, or 58 cents a share, against comparable figures of a $232 million loss, or $1.44 a share, a year ago.

The most recent loss was slightly greater than the 55-cents-a-share forecast from analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

Third-quarter revenue was $5.49 billion, up 15.2 percent from $4.76 billion a year earlier.

Chairman and CEO Gerard Arpey said it was disappointing to swing to a loss after posting its first profit since 2000 in the April-June quarter.

American shares rose 40 cents to close at $12.40 yesterday.

Compiled from Reuters, The Associated Press and Bloomberg News.