Teva Pharmaceutical first-quarter profit up, slightly tops estimates

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[May 01, 2014]   TEL AVIV (Reuters) Teva Pharmaceutical Industries reported on Thursday higher first-quarter earnings that beat analysts' estimates by 1 cent due in part to the launch of several generic products in the United States.

Teva, the world's largest generic drugmaker and Israel's biggest company, earned $1.22 per share excluding one-time items in the quarter, up from $1.12 a year earlier.

Revenue rose 2 percent to $5.0 billion despite a 4 percent drop in European revenue to $818 million. Results in central and eastern Europe were affected by the mild winter, Teva said.

Teva was forecast to earn $1.21 a share excluding items on revenue of $5.1 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company maintained its full year 2014 earnings and revenue forecast.

Global sales of its best-selling multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone, which accounts for about 20 percent of sales and 50 percent of profit, edged up 1 percent to $1.07 billion. The injectable drug faces competition from oral treatments as well as cheaper generics in the coming years.

To help it remain competitive, Teva launched a 40 mg version of Copaxone that has to be injected only three times a week instead of daily. As of April 18, this new version of Copaxone had a 10.5 percent U.S. market share in terms of total prescriptions. U.S. market share for the two Copaxone products was 33.5 percent.

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"Our global generics business delivered increased profitability, and our U.S. generics revenues were up 17 percent year-over-year," said Erez Vigodman, Teva's new chief executive.

"During 2014, we will deliver significant savings as part of our cost-reduction program, accelerate the transformation of our operations network, strengthen our global leadership in generics and continue to increase confidence in Teva."

The company set a quarterly dividend of 1.21 shekels (34.7 cents) a share, unchanged from the fourth quarter.

(Reporting by Tova Cohen; editing by Steven Scheer)

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