Amgen quarterly profit beats estimates, 2020 outlook falls short

Jan 30 (Reuters) - Amgen Inc on Thursday said its fourth-quarter sales fell 2% due to competition from lower-cost generic drugs and biosimilars, but share buybacks enabled the company to post a profit that topped Wall Street estimates.

For 2020, the Thousand Oaks, California-based biotech company forecast earnings of $14.85 to $15.60 per share on revenue as high as $25.6 billion. Analysts are estimating 2020 adjusted earnings of $16.14 on revenue of $25.5 billion, according to Refintiv IBES data.

A company official attributed the difference to lower interest income and Amgen’s recently acquired 20.5% stake in China’s BeiGene Ltd, which is not yet profitable.

Amgen said fourth-quarter sales totaled $5.88 billion, down from $6 billion a year earlier. Total revenue fell 1% to $6.2 billion, ahead of the average analyst estimate of $6.06 billion.

Quarterly adjusted earnings per share rose 6% to $3.64, beating the average Wall Street estimate of $3.48. Net earnings per share fell 5 percent to $2.85 due to higher operating costs partially offset by a lower share count. (Reporting By Deena Beasley Editing by Bill Berkrot)