Pharma fuels Johnson & Johnson’s first-quarter earnings beat


Johnson & Johnson topped Wall Street’s first-quarter earnings and revenue expectations, fueled by strong pharmaceutical growth.

Shares of J&J rose about 1 percent in premarket trade.

Here’s how the company did compared with what Wall Street analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected:

– Earnings: $2.06 per share vs. $2.02 per share expected.
– Revenue: $20 billion vs. $19.46 billion expected.

J&J reported net income of $4.4 billion, or $1.60 per share, in the first quarter. After stripping out amortization expenses and special items, the company earned $5.6 billion, or $2.06 per share, beating analyst estimates of $2.02 per share.

In the quarter, J&J’s revenue increased about 13 percent to $20.01 billion from $17.77 billion a year earlier.

On an operational basis, J&J’s revenue grew 8.4 percent. Excluding the impact of acquisitions, divestitures and currency, worldwide sales were up 4.3 percent.

“We had a very strong quarter. We carried our momentum from 2017 into 2018, and our pharmaceutical business continued to have stellar results,” Chief Financial Officer Dominic Caruso told CNBC’s Meg Tirrell on “Squawk Box.”

J&J boosted its full-year sales estimate to between $81 billion and $81.8 billion, up from $80.6 billion and $81.4 billion, reflecting operational growth of 4 percent to 5 percent. The company reiterated its adjusted earnings forecast to between $8 and $8.20 per share, reflecting operational growth between 6.8 percent and 9.6 percent.

The pharmaceutical business posted $9.84 billion in revenue, a 15 percent year-over-year operational increase. Sales of blood-cancer treatments Imbruvica and Darzalex surged in the quarter.

Excluding currency, Imbruvica’s revenue grew 35 percent to hit $587 million worldwide, topping StreetAccount’s estimates of $579.7 million. Darzalex revenue rocketed 64 percent, excluding currency, to reach $432 million in worldwide sales, surpassing estimates of $395.7 million.

Blood thinner Xarelto’s sales grew about 13 percent on an operational basis to reach $578 million in global sales, falling short of analysts’ estimates of $633.7 million.

Rheumatoid arthritis drug Remicade has been under pressure. Worldwide sales slid 18 percent, excluding a positive currency impact, to $1.34 billion. Analysts had been expecting sales of $1.5 billion, according to StreetAccount.

In February, the Food and Drug Administration approved Erleada, or apalutamide, to treat nonmetastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.

J&J’s medical device unit grew 3 percent on an operational basis from last year, reaching $6.77 billion. The sprawling health company has been pruning its medical device portfolio. Last month, J&J said it received a $2.1 billion bid for its LifeScan diabetes business from private-equity firm Platinum Equity.

J&J’s consumer segment generated $3.4 billion in the quarter, up 1.3 percent from the year-ago quarter. The unit has struggled along with other incumbents in the space. J&J is expected to relaunch its baby care business later this year.

In wake of the new tax law, the company plans to invest more than $30 billion in research and development and capital investments in the U.S. over the next four years, an increase of 15 percent.

Caruso said the new law provides more flexibility to use J&J’s capital, including to create new ways to improve health care and manufacture new technologies in the U.S.

“We’re very proud we’re able to do that, especially in the U.S.,” he said.

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