Eli Lilly Cruises Through Q4 Earnings

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Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) reported its fourth-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Wednesday. The company posted $1.14 in earnings per share (EPS) and $6.16 billion in revenue, which compares with consensus estimates of $1.07 in EPS and revenue of $5.94 billion. The same period of last year reportedly had EPS of $0.95 and $5.76 billion in revenue.

During this quarter, revenue in the United States increased 6% to $3.423 billion, due to increased volume for new pharmaceutical products, including Trulicity, Basaglar, Taltz, Jardiance, Lartruvo and Verzenio, as well as higher realized prices for several pharmaceutical products, primarily Forteo and Humulin.

On the other hand, revenue outside the United States increased 8% to $2.738 billion, largely due to increased volume for several new pharmaceutical products, including Trulicity, Taltz, Cyramza, Jardiance and Olumiant and, to a lesser extent, the favorable impact of foreign exchange rates.

Eli Lilly recorded an income tax expense of $1.941 billion, which included an estimated tax charge of $1.914 billion, despite earning $284.1 million of income before income taxes. The estimated tax charge is based on recently enacted U.S. tax reform legislation, including a one-time repatriation transition tax of roughly $3.6 billion. As a result of new rules related to repatriation, Lilly may utilize over $9 billion in cash held across the company’s global affiliates.

Looking ahead to 2018, the company expects to see EPS in the range of $4.81 to $4.91. The consensus estimates call for $4.68 in EPS and $23.2 billion in revenue for the full year.

David A. Ricks, Eli Lilly’s board chair and chief executive, commented:

Lilly’s new products, including Trulicity, Taltz and Jardiance, continued to drive solid revenue growth in the fourth quarter of 2017, while we maintained flat operating expenses. Momentum continues for our innovation-based strategy. We recently received approval for Taltz in the U.S. and European Union for active psoriatic arthritis, are encouraged by early use of Verzenio for breast cancer and expect further pipeline progress in 2018 in areas of significant patient need, including cancer, immunologic disorders, diabetes, neurodegeneration and pain.

Shares of Eli Lilly closed Tuesday at $86.09, with a consensus analyst price target of $92.09 and a 52-week trading range of $76.55 to $89.09. Following the announcement, the stock was up about 1.5% at $87.40 in early trading indications Wednesday.