updated 7/20/2006 10:46:20 AM ET 2006-07-20T14:46:20

Pfizer Inc. posted a 30 percent drop in second-quarter net income on Thursday as sales edged up slightly but results in the year-ago period were bolstered by one-time tax gains. It said that after adjusting for a planned asset sale, income rose 10 percent and that it would still meet its full-year guidance.

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Last month, Pfizer announced it selling its consumer business to Johnson & Johnson for $16.6 billion in a deal that is expected to close later this year. Pfizer now accounts for the division as a discontinued operation and has adjusted results for the quarter and last year accordingly.

The world's biggest drug company had previously predicted it would earn $2.00 a share in 2006 and said it would meet that goal despite the pending asset sale. Pfizer said that without the division, its earlier estimate is now the equivalent of about $1.93 a share, meaning the company is essentially raising its outlook by sticking to its $2.00 per share estimate.

Net income fell to $2.42 billion, or 33 cents per share, from $3.46 billion, or 47 cents per share, a year ago. Tax benefits of $1.04 billion helped results in the second-quarter of 2005.

However, after accounting for the consumer division as a discontinued operation, Pfizer earned $3.66 billion, or 50 cents a share, up from $3.32 billion, or 45 cents a share, a year earlier.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial estimated Pfizer would earn 48 cents a share. That estimate included income from the consumer division so even without it Pfizer beat Wall Street's projections.

Revenue edged up 3 percent to $11.74 billion from $11.45 billion last year.

Sales of cholesterol-lowering agent Lipitor rose 9 percent to $3.1 billion. Analysts have been concerned about the revenue from the company's best selling drug because Zocor, a competing medicine made by Merck & Co., lost patent protection last month and many health plans have been encouraging patients to switch to generic Zocor.

Meanwhile, pain reliever Celebrex and seven other major products each delivered double-digit percentage revenue growth in the quarter.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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