Saturday, July 17, 2010

Novartis AG Misses Earnings Expectations but Raises FY 2010 Guidance

Novartis AG barely missed meeting the street’s net income estimate of $2.43 billion, instead posting net income of $2.42 billion for the second quarter. However, Novartis has also raised its sales forecast for FY 2010 after second quarter net income increased by 19%. Management now expects sales to increase at mid-to-high single digit pace this year, compared with the more pessimistic mid-single digit range given earlier in the year. Fueling this sales increase has been the strong sales growth of newer products such as Lucentis and Exforge, which are needed to offset the loss in revenue that will be experienced in 2012 due to patent expiration of the drugs Divoan and Gleevec.

Sales of the hypertension drug Diovan gain a percent in generate $1.55 billion in revenue, beating street estimates of $1.5 billion. Gleevec, another flagship drug for Novartis AG, beat analyst estimates with revenue of $1.08 billion. Encouraging signs for the company has been the growth in its other underlying businesses aside from pharmaceuticals. New products accounted for nearly 21% of total sales for the quarter, with Exforge’s revenue growth of 35% and Lucentis’ revenue growth of 28%.

Novartis AG is still very much interested in diversifying its current medical inventory through the purchase of Alcon Inc., the world’s largest eye-care company. However, this process has not been without controversy as Alcon’s independent directors still believe the offer of 2.8 Novartis shares for every remaining public share of Alcon is still inadequate and are fighting to resist this offer. Novartis already has a 25% minority stake in the company and expects to complete the purchase of Nestle SA’s 52% stake in Alcon for $28.1 billion in the third or fourth quarter of this year.

Ultimately, I agree with Analyst’s predictions that Novartis is one of the more attractive pharmaceuticals out there currently. The company is already proving that their new products can offset the loss in revenue that will occur due to patent expiration and their attempt to diversify their business s leads me to believe that the company has set itself up for success.

-Dave Siegel

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