Healthcare Business

AbbVie Earnings Take Back Seat to Shire Merger

Paul Ausick

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AbbVie Inc. (NYSE: ABBV) reported second-quarter 2014 results before markets opened Friday. The pharmaceutical research firm posted adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.82 on revenues of $4.93 billion. In the same quarter a year ago, AbbVie posted EPS of $0.82 on revenues of $4.69 billion. The consensus estimates for the second quarter called for EPS of $0.76 on revenues of $4.7 billion.

On a GAAP basis, AbbVie reported quarterly EPS of $0.68, which excludes intangible asset amortization expenses and other items.

Sales of the company’s Humira anti-inflammatory drug rose more than 25% to worldwide total of $3.29 billion. U.S. sales were up more than 35% and international sales rose more than 16%. The company expects double-digit sales growth for Humira for the rest of 2014.

The big news for AbbVie for the quarter, of course, is that it finally persuaded U.K. drugmaker Shire PLC (NASDAQ: SHPG) to accept a takeover offer worth $55 billion. AbbVie is expected to move its headquarters to the United Kingdom once the deal is complete to take advantage of tax benefits that could save the company as much as 7% on its annual tax bill and up to $8 billion over 15 years, according to a report at MarketWatch.

The company last month raised its adjusted EPS guidance for the full year from a range of $3.03 to $3.13 to a new range of $3.06 to $3.16, which does not include $0.37 of items primarily related to costs associated with its separation from Abbott Labs. The guidance also excludes any potential revenue from the launch of its hepatitis C drug, which the company expects to occur later this year. For the third quarter, the company guided adjusted EPS at $0.77 to $0.79.

The consensus estimates for full-year EPS and third-quarter EPS are $3.14 and $0.77, respectively.

The company’s CEO said:

Last month, we raised our 2014 earnings-per-share guidance, reflecting strong underlying business performance. We continue to expect positive trends for the second half of the year, as well as additional progress from our pipeline, including the expected U.S. approval of our interferon-free HCV combination.

The company’s shares were up about 0.8% in premarket trading, at $54.50 in a 52-week range of $42.25 to $58.27. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $67.10 before the report.

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