(Adds details on 2015 forecast, shares)
By Ransdell Pierson
Jan 27 (Reuters) - Bristol-Myers Squibb Co on Tuesday said profits could fall as much as 16 percent in 2015, a worse forecast than Wall Street had expected, as the stronger dollar takes a toll on U.S. drugmakers.
Bristol-Myers, whose shares fell almost 2 percent in premarket trading, said it earned $13 million, or 1 cent per share, in the fourth quarter. That compared with $726 million, or 44 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding special items, including an after-tax charge of 28 cents per share resulting from the transfer of U.S. pension obligations, Bristol-Myers earned 46 cents per share. Analysts on average expected 41 cents.
Revenue fell 4 percent to $4.26 billion, coming in above Wall Street expectations of $4.03 billion. Sales would have fallen only 1 percent if not for the stronger dollar, which reduces the value of sales abroad.
Bristol-Myers said it expects 2015 earnings of $1.55 to $1.70 per share, assuming current foreign exchange rates. The entire range is below the average analyst forecast of $1.71 per share and reflects earnings as much as 16 percent below those seen in 2014.
Many investors expect Bristol-Myers earnings to vault higher in following years thanks to development of potentially lucrative immuno-oncology treatments, drugs that treat cancer by harnessing the immune system.
U.S. regulators last month approved its Opdivo medicine to treat patients with advanced melanoma. It competes with Keytruda, a melanoma treatment from Merck and Co that also works by blocking a protein called PD-1 that allows tumor cells to conceal themselves.
Rival U.S. drugmaker Pfizer Inc on Tuesday also provided a 2015 view below Wall Street expectations. It cited competition with cheaper generic drugs and the impact of the stronger dollar.
Bristol-Myers shares were trading at $61.30 before the market opened, from their closing price Monday of $62.46 on the New York Stock Exchange.
Reporting by Ransdell Pierson; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Alden Bentley