What Is Driving CVS Revenue Growth?

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When CVS Health Corp. (NYSE: CVS) reported its fourth-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Thursday, the company posted $1.71 in earnings per share (EPS) and $46.0 billion in revenue. Consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters had called for $1.67 in EPS and revenue of $46.5 billion. The same period of last year reportedly had EPS of $1.53 and $41.15 billion in revenue.

During the quarter, revenues in the Pharmacy Services Segment increased 17.9% to $31.3 billion. This increase was primarily driven by growth in pharmacy network and specialty pharmacy claims. Pharmacy network claims processed during the quarter increased 23.9% to 294.3 million, compared to 237.4 million last year.

At the same time, revenues in the Retail/LTC Segment increased 4.7% to $20.8 billion. The increase was largely driven by the addition of the pharmacies of Target, which were acquired in December 2015.

In terms of guidance for the first quarter and full year, CVS expects to see EPS in the range of $1.07 to $1.13 and $5.77 to $5.93, respectively. The consensus estimates are $1.11 in EPS for the first quarter, and $5.86 for the full year.

On the books, CVS cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments totaled $3.46 billion at the end of the quarter, up from $2.55 billion last year.

Larry Merlo, president and CEO of CVS, commented:

In 2016, we delivered strong results across the enterprise, with revenues up nearly 16% and Adjusted EPS up more than 13%. Adjusted EPS in the fourth quarter came in just above the high end of our guidance, as the Retail/LTC segment delivered results in line with our expectations while the PBM exceeded expectations. We also generated more than $8 billion in free cash for the full year, exceeding our expectation, and we returned more than $6 billion to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases. Our substantial cash generation capabilities provide opportunities to bolster our growth, and we will continue to be thoughtful and disciplined with respect to using our free cash to return value to shareholders.

Shares of CVS were last seen down just less than 1% at $76.43, with a consensus analyst price target of $86.04 and a 52-week trading range of $69.30 to $106.67.