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Alexion (ALXN) Lags Q1 Earnings & Revenues, Revises View

Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s ALXN first-quarter 2016 earnings (including stock-based compensation expense) of 87 cents per share missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 91 cents. Earnings were also below the year-ago figure of $1.08 per share.

Nevertheless, Alexion’s revenues soared 16.8% year over year to $701 million. The impact of currency headwinds on total revenue was 5% ($30 million). Most of the company’s revenues were generated from the sales of Soliris. The top line, however, missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $712 million.

Quarter in Detail

Soliris sales were up 10.7% to $664.7 million in spite of the negative foreign currency translations and macroeconomic factors in Latin American countries. Strensiq and Kanuma contributed $33.2 million and $2.5 million, respectively, to quarterly revenues.

Operating expenses (including stock-based compensation expense, and upfront and milestone payments related to license and collaboration deals, and other special items) were on the rise. Research and development (R&D) expenses were down 20.3%, while selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses escalated 24.3%.

2016 Outlook

Alexion has revised its outlook for 2016. The company expects adjusted earnings per share to be at the low end of the previous projection of $5.00–$5.20. It also expects revenues to be at the low end of the prior forecast of $3.05–$3.1 billion. These revisions were made primarily due to increased unfavorable macroeconomic conditions in Latin America.

Soliris revenues are now expected in the range of $2.83–$2.87 billion (previous guidance: $2.9–$2.925 billion).

Revenues from the metabolic franchise, comprising Kanuma and Strensiq sales, are expected in the range $180–$200 million ($150–$175 million expected previously). The company expects R&D expenses and SG&A expenses to be at the high end of the prior projections of $650–$680 million and $760–$790 million, respectively.

Our Take

Alexion’s first-quarter results were disappointing, with the company missing both top- and bottom-line estimates. We expect growth at Alexion to continue being driven by strong sales of Soliris. Launch of new products – Strensiq and Kanuma – should boost revenues and eventually reduce the company’s dependence on Soliris for growth. We are also impressed by Alexion’s efforts to develop its pipeline.

Alexion currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the health care sector include Anika Therapeutics Inc. ANIK, Emergent BioSolutions, Inc. EBS and Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. AEGR, each sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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