Merck’s (MRK) shares climbed over 3% in morning trade on Friday after the company topped revenue and earnings expectations for the fourth quarter of 2018. Worldwide sales grew 5% to $11 billion from the prior-year quarter. Foreign exchange negatively impacted sales by 3%.
On a GAAP basis, the company reported a net income of $1.8 billion or $0.69 per share during the quarter compared to a net loss of $1.04 billion or $0.39 per share in the year-ago period. Last year’s earnings results included a provisional charge related to US tax legislation. On an adjusted basis, net income grew 3% to $2.7 billion while EPS rose 6% to $1.04.
During the quarter, sales in the Pharmaceutical segment grew 6% helped by strength in oncology and vaccines. Sales were negatively impacted by weakness in virology, loss of market exclusivity for certain products and foreign exchange.
While higher sales of KEYTRUDA and GARDASIL helped fuel growth in oncology and vaccines, a significant drop in ZEPATIER sales due to tough competition and declining patient volumes hurt virology sales.
In Animal Health, sales increased 6%, driven by inline and newly launched products. The growth reflects higher sales of companion animal and livestock products.
The company expects full-year 2019 revenue to be $43.2 billion to $44.7 billion, including a negative impact from foreign exchange of around 1%. GAAP EPS is expected to be $3.97 to $4.12 while adjusted EPS is expected to be $4.57 to $4.72.
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