updated 1/25/2005 8:52:21 AM ET 2005-01-25T13:52:21

Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday said fourth-quarter profit fell 34 percent due to a $789 million tax-related charge, that was only partially offset by a $142 million gain on a patent arbitration ruling and higher prescription drug revenue.

Quarterly income was $1.2 billion, or 41 cents per share, down from $1.8 billion, or 62 cents, in the year-ago period. Excluding one-time items, Johnson & Johnson's adjusted earnings would have been $2 billion, or 67 cents per share, in the latest period.

Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected the company to earn 64 cents per share on sales of $12.03 billion.

Revenue for the period gained 13.3 percent to $12.75 billion from $11.25 billion a year earlier, as increased sales of antipsychotic medication Risperdal and antiepileptic and migraine treatment Topamax lifted results. Domestic sales were up 9.8 percent, while international sales increased 18.6 percent.

Strong growth in consumer sales was achieved by McNeil Nutritional's Splenda sweetener and the skin care lines of Neutrogena, RoC, Aveeno and Clean & Clear.

Johnson & Johnson's full-year income rose 18 percent to $8.5 billion, or $2.84 per share, from $7.2 billion, or $2.40 per share, in 2003. Excluding items, the company earned $9.3 billion, or $3.10 per share, in the latest fiscal year. Total sales were $47.35 billion, an increase of 13 percent from $41.86 billion the year before.

The company previously forecast earnings in the range of $3.05 to $3.07 per share. Wall Street analysts were looking for income of $3.07 per share on revenue of $46.67 billion.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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