updated 7/28/2005 11:16:11 AM ET 2005-07-28T15:16:11

Pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. said Wednesday that second-quarter net income soared 91 percent because of a lower tax rate. Sales grew by 1.4 percent and earnings excluding certain items beat Wall Street estimates by a wide margin.

The company earned $1 billion, or 50 cents a share, in the period, up from $527 million, or 27 cents a share, in last year’s second quarter. Bristol-Myers benefited because it set aside $294 million more than necessary to pay taxes.

In the corresponding quarter in 2004, the company also took a charge or $455 million for litigation matters, which lowered profits then, but aided the earnings comparison now.

Excluding certain items, the company earned $933 million, or 47 cents a share. That beat the 36 cents a share average estimate from analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

The items included a $269 million for increasing litigation reserves and $85 million for the early retirement of debt

Sales grew by 1.4 percent to $4.89 billion from $4.82 billion.

For the six months, net earnings to $1.54 billion or 78 cents a share from $1.49 billion or 76 cents a share. Revenue was essentially flat at $9.4 billion.

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