Eli Lilly says that full-year 2004 net income dropped by some 29% versus the year-ago period to $1.8 billion dollars [[30/01/04d]], as the firm became the latest casualty of new US tax legislation, which ultimately allows companies to advantageously bring back overseas profits [[26/01/05c]], [[26/01/05d]], and a restructuring charge also hit financials. However, investors were impressed with the firm’s upbeat forecast for the coming year, which could see earnings up by as much as 12% and sales climb by around 10%.

Worldwide sales for the year climbed 10% to $13.9 billion, including 3% as a result of positive currency effects, and the firm is touting the strength of its newer product offerings – Alimta (pemetrexed) for the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma, the erectile dysfunction drug, Cialis (tadalafil), Cymbalta (duloxetine) for depression, the osteoporosis product, Forteo (teriparatide), Strattera (atomoxetine) for ADHD, Symbyax (fluoxetine plus olanzapine) for bipolar disorder, the sepsis treatment, Xigris (drotrecogin alfa) and the stress urinary incontinence drug, Yentreve (duloxetine) – which contributed $1.5 billion to annual sales, collectively accounting for 11% of revenues, versus 5% in 2003. Specifically, Strattera posted sales of $667 million, which was up 80% on last year, and Cialis topped $552 million – more than double the 2003 figure, showing the firm is managing to gain a foothold in this increasingly competitive marketplace. In addition, Forteo sales were $239 million, compared with $65 million in 2003, and Xigris rose 26% to $202 million.

The anti-psychotic, Zyprexa (olanzapine), saw 2004 sales rise by just 3% to $4.4 billion, primarily due to heightened competition in the US market, where sales dipped 8%. For the coming year, Zyprexa is expected to see a slight revenue decline, but Lilly will still have to contend with looming patent battles for the product [[22/03/04f]]. Another disappointment came from the company’s diabetes care franchise, which increased just 2% versus 2003 to $2.6 billion, impacted by increased market competition in the USA.

For the full year of 2005, Lilly expects sales to grow by as much as 10%, with earnings per share rising by between 8% and 12% over the 2004 figure of $2.82 to $3.05 to $3.15. First quarter EPS should increase to between $0.65 and $0.67 – as much as 4% up on the first quarter of 2004 [[20/04/04b]].