WASHINGTON – CVS Caremark Corp., the largest provider of prescription drugs in the U.S., posted fourth- quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates as pharmacy sales rose on new medicines and new customers.
Net income rose 13 percent to $1.27 billion, or $1.05 a share, from $1.13 billion, or 90 cents, a year earlier, the Woonsocket-based company said Tuesday in a statement. Excluding one-time items, earnings were $1.12 a share, topping by 1 cent the average of 25 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
The new drugs and an expanded roster of clients for specialty pharmaceuticals, along with higher prices, boosted revenue from pharmacy services to $19.6 billion in the fourth quarter, the company said. President and CEO Larry Merlo last week announced the chain will stop selling tobacco products at its 7,600 pharmacies as of Oct. 1. The decision to drop cigarettes and other tobacco products is expected to mean the loss of about $2 billion in annual revenue.
Overall revenue climbed 4.6 percent to $32.8 billion in the fourth quarter, topping the $32.7 billion average of analysts’ estimates.
For the full year of 2013, CVS Caremark reported net income of $4.6 billion, or $3.74 per diluted share, an 18.8 percent increase over the $3.9 billion, or $3.02 per diluted share, reported in 2012.
Net revenue also increased over the year, rising 3 percent to $127 billion in 2013 compared with $123 billion a year earlier.
The company forecast profit of $4.36 to $4.50 for this year. Analysts expected $4.46 on average.
CVS rose less than 1 percent to $66.94 at the close in New York on Monday. The shares have climbed 31 percent in the past 12 months through Monday.
CVS has increased its health-care sales in the past decade, opening 800 in-store clinics nationwide with nurses and physician assistants who can diagnose and write prescriptions for minor illnesses.
CVS acquired Caremark for $27.2 billion in 2007, creating the biggest mail-order and retail medicine provider in the U.S.