JERUSALEM — Israeli generic drug maker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries on Thursday said first-quarter earnings surged over 80 percent and raised its outlook for the rest of the year, citing progress in an aggressive restructuring plan.
Teva said it posted net income of $1.06 billion, or $1.03 a share, compared to $580 million, or 57 cents a share, a year earlier. The earnings came despite a 10 percent drop in sales.
"2018 is off to a solid start," Chief Executive Kare Schultz said in a statement. "Our strong first quarter performance, along with our confidence in executing the restructuring program, gives us a solid foundation to raise our guidance for the year."
Teva, the world's No. 1 generic drugmaker, has been hit hard by price pressure and competition in its core generic business, the loss of patent protection on its blockbuster multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone and a more than $30 billion debt load stemming from its acquisition of the generics business of Allergan. The struggling company announced plans in December to cut 14,000 jobs, over one quarter of its global work force.
Schultz, who joined Teva last fall, said the restructuring plan is going well. He said the company has already eliminated over 6,000 jobs and managed to reduce its debt load to below the $30 billion mark.
He said the company has a "good balance" of new generic products hitting the market as older ones come off line. He also said sales of Austedo, a new proprietary drug for movement disorders like Huntington disease and tardive dyskinesia, are continuing to grow.
A second proprietary drug, the migraine treatment fremanezumab, is expected to hit the U.S. market by the end of the year, after suffering delays due to manufacturing problems, and be introduced in Europe next year.
In light of the progress, Teva raised its 2018 revenue outlook to $18.5 to $19 billion, up from its earlier forecast of $18.3 to $18.8 billion.
Despite the signs of progress, Teva said its first-quarter sales slumped 10 percent to $5.065 billion from $5.65 billion a year earlier. It cited continued price pressure on its generic business, generic competition to Copaxone and the shedding of some noncore businesses.
After opening higher, Teva shares were down 15 cents at $18.45 in late-morning trading on Wall Street.
With roots going back more than a century, Teva has grown into a major global player over the past 40 years with a series of acquisitions, and by developing original drugs and leading the move toward cost-saving generic medications. Its successes over the years are a source of pride in Israel.
The layoff plans triggered protests at Teva plants in Israel and prompted talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But after talks with the unions, protests have died down.