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Merck KGaA (MKGAF) Q1 Earnings: What Awaits the Stock?

Merck KGaA MKGAF is scheduled to report first-quarter 2016 earnings results on May 19. Let’s see how things are shaping up for this quarter.

The company reports results under three business sectors – Healthcare, Life Science and Performance Materials.

Sales at the Healthcare division should continue being driven by continued growth in sales of products like Erbitux, Gonal-f, and Neurobion. Moreover, sales in the Asia-Pacific region should fuel organic growth. However, we remain concerned about Rebrif sales, which are being hurt by competitive pressure from oral formulations.

The Life Science division witnessed organic sales growth last quarter driven by continued demand for its products and the integration of the Sigma-Aldrich business. This trend should be reflected in the to-be-reported quarter as well.

Sales at the Performance Materials unit should continue to improve on the back of the acquisitions of AZ Electronic Materials and Sigma-Aldrich Hitech business as well.

Backed by the Sigma-Aldrich acquisition, the company expects a positive portfolio effect on sales in the low double-digit percentage range in 2016.

The company’s agreement with BioMarin Pharmaceutical, Inc. BMRN to return the rights to Kuvan for the treatment of phenylketonuria (PKU) has allowed it to earn cash proceeds worth €340 million. This one-time gain should be reflected in the company’s first-quarter earnings.

Meanwhile, Merck KGaA, in collaboration with Pfizer Inc. PFE, is evaluating avelumab in several phase III studies – JAVELIN Gastric 100 (advanced or metastatic gastric/gastro-esophageal junction cancers in patients whose disease has not progressed with first-line platinum-based chemotherapy), JAVELIN Gastric 300 (advanced or metastatic gastric/gastro-esophageal junction cancers), JAVELIN Ovarian 200 (platinum-resistant/refractory ovarian cancer), and JAVELIN Bladder 100 (urothelial cancer). In Apr 2016, the companies initiated another phase III study, JAVELIN Renal 101, to evaluate avelumab, in combination with Pfizer’s Inlyta, for the treatment of patients with previously untreated advanced renal cell carcinoma.

Investors are expected to focus on the company's approved products and avelumab’s progress during its first-quarter call.

A Stock That Warrants a Look

Here is a health care stock that you may want to consider, as our model shows that it has the right combination of elements – a positive Zacks Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 – to post an earnings beat this quarter.

Axovant Sciences Ltd. AXON has an Earnings ESP of +69.57% and a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). It is expected to release fourth-quarter fiscal 2015 results on May 17.

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