J&J reports $100M in COVID vaccine sales beating expectations

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The drugmaker raised its dividend payouts to shareholders on Tuesday as the use of its vaccine is being paused by US regulators.

Johnson & Johnson beat expectations for quarterly earnings and raised its dividend payouts to shareholders on Tuesday, while reporting $100m in sales of its COVID-19 vaccine, whose use was paused by United States regulators last week.

The company, which has previously said the vaccine will be available on a not-for-profit basis until the end of the pandemic, also tightened its forecast for adjusted profit this year, suggesting it was largely performing as previously expected.

Use of the company’s vaccine was temporarily halted by US regulators as they investigate reports of blood clots in six women, prompting a similar pause in South Africa and leading to a delay in roll-out in Europe.

The US is also reviewing a handful of potential cases of severe side effects in addition to those that led to the pause.

J&J is aiming to deliver 100 million doses of the vaccine to the US before the end of May. More than 17 million of those doses have already been distributed as of Monday.

“While we expect many questions on its COVID-19 vaccine, this should not overshadow the strong recovery for J&J,” Citi analyst Joanne Wuensch wrote in a note to clients.

Sales of J&J’s cancer drug Darzalex rose 45.7 percent to $1.37bn and sales of its Stelara, a treatment for Crohn’s disease and plaque psoriasis, rose about 18 percent to $2.15bn.

The company now expects full-year adjusted profit of $9.42 to $9.57 per share, compared with its prior forecast of $9.40 to $9.60 per share.

Excluding items, the company earned $2.59 per share, beating analysts’ estimates of $2.34 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Total sales rose 7.9 percent to $22.32bn, beating estimates of $21.98bn.

The company also increased its quarterly dividend to $1.06 per share from $1.01 per share.

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