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Centrum multivitamins are shown on the packaging line at the Pfizer plant in Montreal, Thursday, July 12, 2012.Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

Pfizer Inc. on Tuesday reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter results, helped by rebounding sales in emerging markets, but the drug maker forecast earnings for 2013 that was mostly below consensus analyst expectations.

The largest U.S. drug maker said its earnings quadrupled to $6.32-billion (U.S.), or 86 cents per share, in the quarter as it recorded gains from the approximately $12-billion sale in November of its nutritional products business to Swiss food groups Nestle SA. That compared with earnings of $1.44-billion, or 19 cents per share, in the year-earlier quarter.

Excluding special items, Pfizer earned 47 cents per share. Analysts, on average, expected 44 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Global company sales fell 7 per cent to $15.1-billion, hurt by generic competition for its Lipitor cholesterol fighter, but came in well above Wall Street expectations of $14.37-billion.

Pfizer forecast full-year earnings, excluding special items of $2.20 to $2.30 per share. The average analyst forecast was $2.29 per share, according to Thomson Reuters.