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Amgen Says Earnings Won't Meet Predictions Next Year

Biotechnology: Company expects to introduce at least five products by 2005.

November 09, 2000|From Bloomberg News

Thousand Oaks-based Amgen Inc., the world's largest biotechnology company, said Wednesday it expects to generate as much as $9 billion in revenue and have at least five new products on the market by 2005.

Still, the company said earnings-per-share growth next year will be in the "mid-teens," less than analysts forecast. The company attributed the shortfall partly to a higher tax rate and costs from a recent acquisition.

Amgen gave the forecast in a meeting with investors and analysts in New York. Investors have been eager to hear details on how Amgen plans to make up for weakening sales expected of its two biggest drugs, the anemia drug Epogen and the white blood cell stimulator Neupogen.

"Sales growth and the pipeline will be strong and will outweigh some of the adjustments" that analysts and investors will have to make to their earnings forecasts for next year, said Elise Wang, analyst at PaineWebber.

Amgen has been expected to earn $1.26 a share, based on the average estimate of analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial. The company expects to earn $1.06 to $1.08 this year and said earnings growth will accelerate after next year. Amgen also said it expects the compound average growth rate of earnings to be in the low 20% range over the next five years.

Wang was one of about 300 investors and analysts who attended the meeting, in which Amgen detailed the progress it's making in developing drugs in four therapeutic areas: cancer, inflammation, neurology and metabolic disorders.

Amgen shares rose as high as $66.50 Wednesday before settling at $61.63, down 19 cents for the day on Nasdaq.

Amgen said it expects the Food and Drug Administration to approve its Aranesp anemia drug in the first half of 2001 and plans to pursue four additional uses for the drug. The company is seeking approval for the drug's use in anemic patients on dialysis and those who aren't yet in need of dialysis.

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