The New Brunswick, N.J.-based company reported profits of $6.154 billion, or $2.30 per share, on sales of $20.69 billion for the three months ended March 29, 2020, for a bottom-line gain of 8.7% on sales growth of 3.3% compared with Q1 2019.
Adjusted to exclude one-time items, earnings per share were 27¢ ahead of The Street, where analysts were looking for sales of $19.47 billion.
Medical device sales fell by 8.2% to $5.93 million due to hospitals postponing elective procedures amid the COVID-19 outbreak. But pharmaceutical sales rose 8.7% to $11.13 million and consumer health product sales were up 9.2% to $3.625 million over the same quarter of 2019, the company reported.
J&J lowered its adjusted earnings forecast for 2020 to a range of $7.50 to $7.90 per share, down from its previous projection of $8.95 to $9.10 per share, based on COVID-19’s effects on its performance. Yet the company raised its dividend 6.3% from 94¢ per share to $1.01 per share.
The company said in March that its Janssen Pharmaceutical Cos. had begun working with the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston on a coronavirus vaccine. A Phase 1 clinical study of the potential vaccine candidate could start by the end of the year.
CEO Alex Gorsky said the company emphasized the company’s commitment to developing a COVID-19 vaccine and selling it at cost for emergency pandemic use.
“With Johnson & Johnson’s century-plus history of leading in times of great challenge, we are mobilizing our resources across the Company in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” Gorsky said in a news release. “Johnson & Johnson is built for times like this, and we are leveraging our scientific expertise, operational scale and financial strength in the effort to advance the work on our lead COVID-19 vaccine candidate. We are committed to beginning production at risk imminently and bringing an affordable and accessible vaccine to the public on a not-for-profit basis for emergency pandemic use.
“I am both proud and amazed at the level of dedication that I have witnessed from our more than 132,000 employees as we have focused on delivering on our commitments and responsibilities to the patients and consumers we serve,” Gorsky added. “Our strong performance in the first quarter reflects the efforts of our teams around the world and the sustainability of our business model.”
Investors reacted by sending shares of JNJ up 5.13% to $147.20 in mid-morning trading.