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Bristol-Myers profit up 54 pct. on cost cuts, sale

NEW YORK (AP) -- Drugmaker Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. reported a 54 percent jump in first-quarter profit, as cost cutting and a gain from selling most of its diabetes business outweighed a slight dip in sales.

The New York-based company on Feb. 3 completed the sale to partner AstraZeneca PLC of Bristol's share of their global diabetes business, except in China; that transaction is still in progress. Bristol collected $3.3 billion and will continue to receive some payments, mostly royalties, from AstraZeneca through 2025.

Bristol, which sells Orencia for rheumatoid arthritis and Abilify for psychiatric disorders, said Tuesday that net income was $937 million, or 56 cents per share, up from $609 million, or 37 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding charges worth 10 cents per share, mostly from the diabetes business sale, Bristol said net income would have been 46 cents per share. That was 3 cents better than the 43 cents analysts surveyed by FactSet were expecting.

Revenue totaled $3.81 billion, down 1 percent from a year earlier. Bristol said that excluding the lost sales from its older diabetes drugs and recently approved Type 2 diabetes pill Forxiga, revenue would have been up 5 percent.

Sales of Orencia, Abilify, three cancer medicines and hepatitis B drug Baraclude all rose, but sales declined for two HIV drugs. Sustiva got generic competition in Europe, and Reyataz was hurt by some new AIDS drugs now on that increasingly competitive market.

Meanwhile, sales of Eliquis, one of three newer stroke-preventing drugs on the market, continue to disappoint, at just $106 million in the quarter. Analysts had viewed Eliquis, along with rivals Xarelto and Pradaxa, as certain blockbusters.

Bristol noted that it applied to the Food and Drug Administration this month for approval of two new products, both two-drug combination treatments _ one for hepatitis C and the other for HIV.

The company tweaked its 2014 profit forecast, saying it expects earnings per share of $1.70 to $1.80. It previously forecast $1.75 to $1.90.

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