Updated March 29 at 2:29pm

Amgen tops profit estimates on sales of arthritis, bone drugs


SAN FRANCISCO - Amgen Inc., the world’s largest biotechnology companies, reported fourth-quarter profit that beat analyst estimates as sales of arthritis and bone drugs rose.

Net income declined 16 percent to $788 million, or $1.01 a share, from $934 million, or $1.08 a share, a year earlier, the Thousand Oaks, California-based company said today in a statement. Earnings, excluding some items, of $1.40 a share topped by 1 cent the average of 10 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue rose 11 percent to $4.42 billion.

Amgen is looking for new products and acquisitions to boost revenue as its former core anemia business declines. Last month the company agreed to buy DeCode Genetics Inc., a genetics research company, for $415 million. Amgen last year also acquired Micromet Inc. for $1.16 billion to add an experimental leukemia drug, signed a development deal with London-based AstraZeneca Plc and boosted its cancer-market presence through sales of Xgeva, a bone drug that reduces fractures.

“We enter 2013 with good momentum, a broad late-stage pipeline and a continued focus on building our business internationally,” Amgen Chief Executive Officer Robert Bradway said in the statement.

Amgen shares have declined 7.9 percent since Dec. 12 when they reached their highest value ever at $90.17. The stock gained 34 percent in 2012, it’s best annual increase since 1999, as investors rewarded the company for its buyback program, dividend and sales increase.

Amgen forecast 2013 earnings, excluding some items, from $6.85 to $7.15 a share. Analysts had expected $7 a share, the average of 26 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.


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