Forest Laboratories reported a sharp decrease in net income for its fiscal fourth quarter on the back of declining sales, primarily as a result of generic competition to its Celexa (citalopram) antidepressant. However, the company’s results were broadly in line with its own expectations, which it revised downwards earlier this month [[07/04/05c]].

Profits for the three-month period dropped 64% to $53 million dollars versus the same period last year, as sales decreased 15% to $618 million. Lexapro (escitalopram) – the follow-up to Celexa – brought in a not insignificant $399 million during the quarter, and Namenda (memantine) for Alzheimer’s disease, generated $94 million, which is almost treble the $34 million recorded in the corresponding quarter last year. The firm says results were also hit by a one-time charge of $91 million relating to taxes associated with $1.2 billion of funds repatriated under the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004.

The full-year figures made for better reading, with income rising by 14% to $839 million on the back of a 15% hike in sales to $3 billion. However, for 2006, the outlook is bleak and, with a full year of generic competition to Celexa to contend with, Forest says it is looking to earnings per share of around $2.30. This is some way below average analysts’ estimates of $2.44, and only marginally up on the $2.25 recorded in 2004/5.