You know it is a different world when big pharmaceutical giants began to lay off workers in recent years. Now it is Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) joining in on the layoff brigade for a “streamlining and focusing” effort as part of a cost structure initiative.
Eli Lilly is cutting 3,500 positions from its global workforce. The company did note that this includes a voluntary early retirement program in the United States. This represents about 8% of Eli Lilly’s workforce.
As far as how the company will streamline operations and more efficiently focus resources on developing new medicines, the company said that it expects annualized savings of roughly $500 million starting in 2018. Eli Lilly also said that it is particularly looking to cut its fixed costs.
To realize those savings the company will have to take a $1.2 billion pretax charge in the third and fourth quarter of 2017. Those charges will be reflected as asset impairment and restructuring charges, as well as other special charges. The cuts are said to not create any major changes to Eli Lilly’s operating earnings per share (EPS), and the company is now targeting a ratio of operating expenses to revenues of 49%.
Eli Lilly has a market cap of roughly $84 billion, and its 2016 revenue was $21.2 billion. It generated revenues of $19.96 billion in 2015, $19.61 billion in 2014 and $23.1 billion in 2013. Thomson Reuters has consensus estimates for revenues of $22.5 billion in 2017, $22.95 billion in 2018 and $23.3 billion in 2019.
With operating EPS expected to be $4.16 in 2017, its annualized dividend payment is currently at $2.08 per share. Wall Street is calling for that dividend to increase in each of the coming few years.
David A. Ricks, Eli Lilly’s chairman and CEO, said of the plan:
We have an abundance of opportunities—eight medicines launched in the past four years and the potential for two more by the end of next year. To fully realize these opportunities and invest in the next generation of new medicines, we are taking action to streamline our organization and reduce our fixed costs around the world.
The actions we are announcing today will result in a leaner, more nimble global organization and will accelerate progress towards our long-term goals of growing revenue, expanding operating margins and sustaining the flow of life-changing medicines from our pipeline.
Eli Lilly shares were last seen trading up 0.6% at $81.00. The stock has a 52-week range of $64.18 to $86.72 and a consensus analyst price target of $89.43.