Bristol Myers Squibb sees 2020 earnings holding despite coronavirus

Pharma company expects disruption to peak in second quarter

Bristol Myers Squibb on Thursday reported better-than-expected first-quarter results, and said it still expects 2020 earnings within its previously forecast range despite the coronavirus pandemic.

The US drugmaker shaved $500 million off its forecast for 2020 revenue, but lowered its projections for research and development expenses and marketing, selling and administrative costs.

Bristol said it expects the peak business disruption from the pandemic and the resulting national lockdowns to come in the second quarter, with minimal impact from the fourth quarter of the year onward.

Some US drugmakers like Pfizer and Eli Lilly have also maintained or raised their 2020 profit forecasts. However, Merck and Johnson & Johnson cut its forecasts for the year as patients avoided non-emergency procedures and visits to doctors and hospitals, where some drugs must be administered.


Bristol said it had adjusted earnings of $3.96 billion, or $1.72 a share, in the first quarter on revenue of $10.8 billion. Analysts, on average, had expected the company to earn $1.49 a share on sales of $10 billion.

The company said it actually benefited from consumers stocking up on medicines in the quarter due to the pandemic, increasing its sales by around $500 million.

The company posted a first-quarter net loss of $775 million or 34 cent a share. That includes expenses and other accounting adjustments associated with the $74 billion Celgene acquisition that closed in November. – Reuters