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Profits up at Merck target Schering


Schering-Plough, which is in the process of being acquired by Merck, has announced that despite drug sales falling in the first three months of the year, cost cutting and acquisitions in the last quarter helped profits to triple.

The New Jersey-based maker of arthritis treatment Remicade and allergy spray Nasonex earned $767 million (£526 million) or 46 cents a share. That compares with profit of $276 million, or 17 cents per share. Revenue fell 6% to $4.39 billion.

Excluding charges, mostly related to the 2007 buyout of Organon Biosciences, the company earned 56 cents per share, topping expectations. Analysts forecast profit of 47 cents per share. Analysts expected revenue of $4.56 billion.

Adjusting for an assumed 50% of the joint sales and sales in territories such as Japan and Latin America, Schering-Plough said its overall revenue for the quarter is about $4.9 billion.

Meanwhile, sales in the company’s troubled cholesterol drug franchise continued losing ground, falling 21%. The company’s partner, Merck, records sales of the drugs Vytorin and Zetia, though Schering has additional territories outside of the joint venture.

Copyright Press Association 2009

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