Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN) is holding up better than some investors might have expected after the biotech giant warned about earnings. The lowering of earnings estimates was by a mere $0.10 for 2012 and the lowered figure was said to be due to a delay in the financial impact of a research and development tax credit. Chief Executive Robert Bradway was speaking at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference. While we cited Amgen as being one of the overvalued large cap biotechs, this is a different matter.
The full year of 2012 is now projected to be $6.40 EPS to $6.50 EPS and the tax credit at issue was apparently extended this year. What may matter is that Bradway is still new at the helm as CEO and he tried to maintain that Amgen has positive momentum going into 2013.
Investors will get to see the full earnings report and the guidance ahead when Amgen reports earnings on January 23, although that is still a tentative date more than two weeks away. The company then plans to highlight more details at the company’s annual investor day called its Business Review Day scheduled on February 7. After generating 36% total return in 2012, the bar is likely to be set very high by investors this year. Investors were given a telegraph by the company that they should be looking more at the dividend than expecting the buybacks to continue. The company also said that it expects to return to a net cash position in 2013.
Amgen shares are down only 0.7% at $87.85 against a 52-week trading range of $64.21 to $90.81, and analysts have a consensus price target of $94.20. Here is a view of Amgen’s late-stage drug pipeline: