It’s no simple task for a biotech giant to try to sell itself to investors as a value stock. That has been the case for some time when it comes to Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD). After a long series of slides lower and with a stock chart trying to hold on to the lows seen in 2017, some investors may look at the biotech’s earnings report and wonder if the worst is starting to move behind it.
Gilead’s total revenues were $5.3 billion in 2019, up from $5.1 billion in the first quarter of 2018. Its total product sales were $5.2 billion, up from $5.00 billion a year earlier.
The company’s net income was $2.0 billion ($1.54 per share), versus $1.5 billion ($1.17 per share) in 2018. The non-GAAP net income followed by Wall Street analysts rose to $2.3 billion ($1.76 per share) from $2.0 billion ($1.48 per share) in 2018.
The consensus analyst targets from Refinitiv were listed as $1.61 in earnings per share and $5.3 billion. So earnings beat the adjusted expectations, and all-in revenue was just under expectations.
Considering the sentiment around Gilead being so low, some longer-term investors may start to see a glass half-full or a glass that’s 50/50 rather than the continued half-empty view that has been in place for quite some time.
Gilead reiterated its full year 2019 guidance offered in February, as follows:
- Net Product Sales of $21.300 billion to $21.8 billion
- Product Gross Margin of 85% to 87%
- R&D Expenses of $3.6 billion to $3.8 billion
- SG&A Expenses of $3.9 billion to $.1 billion
- Effective Tax Rate of 20.0% to 21.0%
The Refinitiv consensus revenue figure, which Gilead did not add in the royalty revenues in its forecast, was almost $22 billion for the full year 2019.
As of March 31, 2019, Gilead had $30.1 billion of cash and its equivalents, down from $31.5 billion the prior quarter. Gilead generated $1.4 billion in operating cash flow during the quarter, it repaid $750 million of debt, paid out $817 million in cash dividends, and it spent $834 million on stock repurchases.
Product sales were shown below for the first quarter of 2019 (versus the same period in 2018):
- HIV product sales were $3.6 billion (vs. $3.2 billion), primarily driven by higher sales volume as a result of the continued uptake of Biktarvy.
- Chronic hepatitis C virus product sales were $790 million (vs. $1.0 billion), primarily due to lower patient starts and competitive dynamics that included a decline in price in U.S. Medicare in 2019.
- Yescarta $96 million (vs. $40 million), driven by an increase in the number of therapies provided to patients.
- Other product sales (chronic hep-B, cardiovascular, oncology, Vemlidy, Viread, Letairis, Ranexa, Zydelig, and AmBisome) $696 million (vs. $745 million), primarily due to the expected decline in Ranexa sales after generic entry in the first quarter of 2019.
Thursday’s earnings report is not complete by any measure without having heard the tone of management on the conference call and without hearing questions from analysts and investors. That said, there is a lot of stabilization that was seen here now that there have been three consecutive years of decline in Gilead’s revenues $32.6 billion in 2015, down to $22.12 billion in 2018 — and that would represent very low decay in 2019 revenues if you look at guidance without factoring in any royalty revenues.
Gilead is still conserving cash, and it is using a tad more cash to buy back stock than it is pay dividends. And if Wall Street analysts are correct in the 2019 forecast, Gilead is trading at just under 10-times expected 2019 earnings per share before factoring in any decrease in the number of shares outstanding. And Gilead’s dividend yield is over 3.8% based upon its closing price.
If Gilead can just pull out one more solid product from its pipeline or that of its partners then Wall Street may start to actually have good things to say — other than saying it’s at least a cheap value stock.
Gilead closed up 0.66% at $65.30 ahead of the report, and its shares were trading up 0.9% at $65.90 after about 30 minutes of post-earnings and after-hours trading.
The Refinitiv consensus analyst price target is still up at $81.26, but that is far lower than in the past.
Needless to say, the most recent Top 10 Biotech Performers of 2019 has offered far more upside than the largest biotech and pharma stocks year-to-date.