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AbbVie (ABBV) Beats on 1Q Earnings, Lowers View on Deal

AbbVie Inc. ABBV reported first quarter 2016 earnings of $1.15 per share, up 22.3% from the year-ago quarter and a couple of cents above the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

Revenues increased 18.2% to $5.96 billion in the first quarter of 2016, just above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $5.91 billion.

The Quarter in Details

Key drug Humira recorded growth of 14.9% with revenues coming in at $3.6 billion. U.S. sales increased 31.9% ($2.2 billion) driven by growth across all three major market categories: rheumatology, dermatology and gastroenterology. Ex-U.S. sales declined 4.6% to $1.4 billion, impacted by negative currency movement (4.6%). Growing awareness, favorable clinical data, additional indications and expansion into new markets should help the product to continue contributing significantly to the top line.

Other products that performed well include Duodopa (up 29.8% to $68 million) and Creon (up 18.2% to $150 million). Meanwhile, products like Synagis and Kaletra (HIV) recorded a decline in revenues.

HCV product Viekira recorded sales of $414 million, down from $554 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. Additional competition has entered the market in the form of Merck & Co. Inc.’s MRK Zepatier. AbbVie recorded Imbruvica U.S. sales of $325 million and $56 million of international profit sharing.

Announces Acquisition to Expand Oncology Pipeline

In addition to releasing first quarter results, AbbVie announced that it will be acquiring cancer drugmaker Stemcentrx in a cash and stock deal worth $5.8 billion plus up to an additional $4 billion on the achievement of milestones.

With this acquisition, AbbVie will gain a late-stage candidate (rovalpituzumab tesirine or Rova-T), four additional early-stage compounds in solid tumor indications and a significant portfolio of pre-clinical assets.

Rova-T is currently in registrational studies for small cell lung cancer (SCLC) – according to AbbVie, Rova-T has blockbuster potential and could be launched in 2018.

Lowers 2016 Outlook

AbbVie lowered its 2016 EPS outlook to reflect the impact of the Stemcentrx acquisition which is expected to dilute earnings by 20 cents. The company’s new guidance is $4.62 to $4.82 per share. The Zacks Consensus Estimate is currently $4.99 per share.

Once the deal closes, expected in the second quarter of 2016, AbbVie plans to execute an accelerated share repurchase program of up to $4 billion.  

Our Take

AbbVie’s first quarter results were good with the company surpassing expectations on all fronts. Humira and Imbruvica continued to perform well while the sequential decline in Viekira sales does not come as a surprise considering additional competition and the label update.

With several companies working on bringing Humira biosimilars to market, AbbVie has been focusing on diversifying its revenue base and lowering its dependence on the product. The company has been signing quite a few deals lately especially with the aim of increasing its presence in the cancer market. Last year’s $21 billion Pharmacyclics acquisition helped AbbVie diversify its revenue base into cancer with Imbruvica representing multi-billion dollar potential.

AbbVie is a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock. Some better-ranked stocks in the health care sector include Celgene Corp. CELG and Gilead Sciences Inc. GILD. Both are Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stocks.

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