10 January 2003 15:46 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (CNI)--The share price of US drug giant Schering-Plough (S-P) fell 3.6% in early morning trading Friday after the company warned it expects to report lower earnings for 2002 than previously expected due to declines in Claritin sales.
At midmorning shares of the Kenilworth, New Jersey-based company were trading at a price of $22.24 - just above the 52-week low of $16.10 and well below the high of $36.25.
In a quick report on the situation, analysts at Merrill Lynch (ML) said they remain uncertain about Schering's outlook for this year on a variety of issues.
For the year ended 31 December, Schering said it now expects to report earnings/share (eps) of $1.40-1.42, a figure that would represent an 11% decline from the $1.58/share reported for 2001. Schering previously had anticipated its eps would be flat with the $1.58 from last year.
But now the company said it has seen its prescription sales of the allergy drug Claritin deteriorate more rapidly than expected following conversion of the medication for over-the-counter sales.
Schering also said it does not expect US demand for prescription Claritin to play a "significant" role in 2003 earnings.
Among other factors looming as risks for Schering this year, ML included "the potential for a delay in the launch of other products."
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