UPDATE 2-Teva cuts profit view on weak European markets

Thu May 24, 2012 11:41am EDT

* Sees 2012 revenue $20-$21 bln, EPS ex-items $5.30-$5.40

* CEO says weaker Europe to reduce revenue by $1 bln

* CEO says would divest businesses that don't fit

* Nasdaq shares up 1 pct after 13 pct fall last 2 wks

By Steven Scheer and Tova Cohen

TEL AVIV, May 24 (Reuters) - Teva Pharmaceutical Industries , the world's largest maker of generic drugs, has cut its profit and revenue forecasts for 2012, blaming weaker economies and healthcare spending cuts in Europe.

The reductions were widely anticipated after new chief executive Jeremy Levin declined earlier this month to affirm the outlook issued by his predecessor.

Teva's Nasdaq-listed shares, down 13 percent since that time, were up 1 percent at $38.97 in morning trade. Its shares will be transferred to the New York Stock Exchange on May 30.

"Though management revised guidance lower and highlighted ongoing challenges, we think investors will likely be relieved that the revised guidance addresses challenges," Michael Tong, an analyst at Wells Fargo, wrote in a note to clients.

Levin, a former senior executive at Bristol-Myers Squibb, told analysts on a conference call on Thursday that much of the weaker outlook this year stemmed from lower-than-expected sales in Europe.

"In Europe, our outlook has been impacted by more than $1 billion due to negative currency effects totalling $600 million and the ongoing macroeconomic conditions and health care reforms in key European markets will have an estimated impact of $400 million," he said.

Most of the company's problems in Europe were in its retail generics business, while its branded and over-the-counter drugs were performing well.

Teva had assumed it would grow 4-6 percent in Europe in 2012 but growth in key markets Germany and France was so far negative while Italy was flat.

Levin declined to give an outlook for 2013 and said the company would provide a detailed strategic plan by the end of the year.

"If there are businesses that don't fit, we will look to divest them," Levin said.

Teva makes around 20 percent of its sales from multiple sclerosis treatment Copaxone. But these are expected to peak this year due to increased competition and its biggest challenge is to diversify.

Levin projected overall revenue this year of $20-$21 billion and earnings per share excluding one-time items of $5.30-$5.40.

That's lower than a prior outlook of $22 billion in revenue and EPS of $5.48-$5.68.

In 2011, Teva posted a 14 percent rise in revenue to $18.3 billion and a nine percent increase in EPS to $4.97.

Levin said a combination of a decline in 180-day exclusivity opportunities, health care reforms and a weaker global economy were putting pressure on the generics industry.

Still, Teva estimates generic sales in 2012 of $10.7 billion, with branded drug sales at $8 billion - $3.8 billion of which would come from Copaxone.

Geographically, the United States looks to remain Teva's largest market with sales expected at $10.5 billion in 2012 followed by $5.8 billion in Europe.

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