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Merck quarterly profit tops Wall Street view on strong Keytruda sales

Merck quarterly profit tops Wall Street view on strong Keytruda sales

Reuters · 07/28/2022 06:30
Merck quarterly profit tops Wall Street view on strong Keytruda sales

By Michael Erman

- Merck & Co MRK on Thursday reported higher-than-expected second-quarter earnings and revenue on strong sales of its blockbuster cancer drug Keytruda.

The company said it earned $4.74 billion in the quarter, or $1.87 a share, compared with $1.55 billion, or 61 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts on average had expected the company to earn $1.70 a share, according to Refinitiv data.

Revenue in the quarter rose 28% from a year ago to $14.6 billion, topping the average Wall Street forecast of $13.9 billion.

Much of that beat came from sales of Merck's top-selling drug, the cancer immunotherapy Keytruda, which came in at $5.3 billion for the quarter, compared with analyst estimates of $4.9 billion.

On Wednesday, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat, sent a letter to Merck suggesting the company had avoided billions of dollars of U.S. taxes owed from Keytruda sales in recent years by booking all the profits from the treatment outside of the United States.

"Prior to today, we have received two letters from the Senate Finance Committee requesting responses to questions around our tax rate, and in each case we have cooperated and responded with information that we believe appropriately addressed their inquiries," Merck said in an emailed statement on Wednesday.

Sales of Merck's COVID-19 antiviral treatment Lagevrio were $1.2 billion in the quarter, primarily from the UK and Japan.

Merck raised its full-year sales forecast to $57.5 billion to $58.5 billion from its previous outlook of $56.9 billion to $58.1 billion. That includes a impact of roughly 3% due to the strong dollar.

Analysts had forecast 2022 sales of $58.1 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

The company expects full-year earnings of between $7.25 and $7.35 per share, putting the midpoint below Wall Street estimates of $7.37 per share.



(Reporting by Michael Erman
Editing by Bill Berkrot)

((michael.erman@thomsonreuters.com;))