* Q2 profit ex-items 48 cents/share, matches Street view
* Q2 sales $4.44 bln vs Street view $4.45 bln
* Plavix sales fall 60 pct, Avapro tumbles 53 pct
* Shares up slightly in early trading (Adds analyst comments, shares, byline)
By Ransdell Pierson
July 25 (Reuters) - Bristol-Myers Squibb Co reported lower quarterly sales and earnings as cost-cutting and sales gains for newer drugs only partly offset plunging sales of its Plavix blood clot preventer and Avapro blood-pressure medicine, now facing generic rivals.
Industry analysts said the earnings report produced no significant surprises and came in roughly in line with expectations. But they were impressed that the company was able to reaffirm its 2012 profit view despite Plavix’s freefall and a stronger dollar that hurts sales in overseas markets.
Bristol-Myers said it still expects a full-year 2012 profit, excluding special items, of $1.90 to $2.00 per share. That would reflect a decline of 12 percent to 17 percent from 2011, when Plavix held sway as the world’s second-biggest-selling medicine.
“We expect the shares to react positively to this update, which could easily have been worse,” Jefferies and Co analyst Jeffrey Holford said, referring to the second-quarter earnings report.
The company on Wednesday reported net earnings of $808 million, or 38 cents per share, down from $1.31 billion, or 52 cents per share, in the year-earlier period.
Excluding special items, the U.S. drugmaker earned 48 cents per share, in line with analysts’ expectations, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Global sales fell 18 percent to $4.44 billion. The average Wall Street forecast was $4.45 billion. The sharp decline follows the loss of U.S. patent protection in May for Plavix.
Plavix sales fell 60 percent to $741 million in the quarter, while sales of Avapro dropped 53 percent to $117 million. Sales of schizophrenia drug Abilify edged 1 percent higher to $711 million.
Many newer drugs did well, including Baraclude, a treatment for hepatitis B infections, whose sales jumped 22 percent to $357 million. Sales of leukemia drug Sprycel rose 26 percent to $244 million, while sales of rheumatoid arthritis drug Orencia grew 27 percent to $290 million.
Bristol-Myers’ shares gained about 5 cents to $34.77 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Reporting By Ransdell Pierson; Editing by John Wallace and Maureen Bavdek