Pfizer's profit sinks

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Pfizer1 Reuters. US drugmaker Pfizer.

New York - Pfizer's second-quarter earnings plunged 79 percent from last year, when the world's second-largest drugmaker booked a business spinoff gain of more than $10 billion (R106 billion), but results in the most recent quarter still edged analyst expectations.

The New York company said Tuesday it earned $2.91 billion, or 45 cents per share, in the quarter.

That compares with earnings of $14.1 billion, or $1.98 per share, last year.

Adjusted earnings totalled 58 cents per share.

Analysts expected, on average, earnings of 57 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Revenue slipped 2 percent to $12.77 billion, while analysts forecast $12.47 billion, on average.

Pfizer is best known for creating medicines for the masses, including the erectile dysfunction pill Viagra, the Prevnar vaccine against pneumonia and related infections, and the now-generic cholesterol fighter Lipitor, which was once the world's best-selling drug.

Over the last three years, Pfizer has divested assets outside its core business.

It sold its capsule-making operation and its nutrition business for a total of nearly $14 billion.

Then it spun off its animal health business as a new company in June 2013.

That's when it divested its remaining 80 percent stake in the new company, called Zoetis, receiving an after-tax gain of $10.6 billion. - Sapa-AP

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