* Q2 EPS ex-items $1.23 vs $1.22 forecast
* Now sees 2014 EPS $4.50-$4.80 with Copaxone competition
* Supreme Court to hear Teva's Copaxone patent appeal Oct.
(Adds CEO comments from conference call, details on 2014
outlook, share reaction)
By Tova Cohen
TEL AVIV, July 31 Teva Pharmaceutical Industries
raised its full-year profit forecast on Thursday after
posting higher quarterly earnings that were due in part to the
launch of several generic products in the United States.
Teva, the world's largest generic drugmaker and
Israel's biggest company, earned $1.23 per share excluding
one-time items in the second quarter, compared with $1.20 a year
earlier. Revenue rose 2 percent to $5.05 billion.
Teva was forecast to earn $1.22 a share excluding items on
revenue of $5.09 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company, which generates about 20 percent of its sales
and half its profit from one drug - multiple sclerosis treatment
Copaxone - is fighting to delay cheap generic competition. The
injectable drug also faces competition from oral treatments.
Teva said the U.S. Supreme Court has scheduled a hearing on
its appeal in a Copaxone patent fight for Oct. 15 with a
decision expected by early next year. Any generic launch in the
meantime could result in damages reaching billions of dollars.
Teva raised its full-year 2014 earnings forecast to
$4.50-$4.80 a share if rivals launch generic Copaxone by August
and $4.90-$5.10 without competition. Previously, it had
predicted $4.20-$4.50 with competition and $4.80-$5.10 without.
It maintained its 2014 outlook for revenue of $19.8-$20.8
billion without competition and lifted its outlook to
$19.5-$20.5 bln with competition from a previous $19.3-$20.3
Teva's New York-listed shares opened 0.8 percent lower at
Global sales of Copaxone fell 12 percent to $939 million in
the second quarter. Sales were hit by higher inventory levels
created in the previous quarter following the launch of Copaxone
40 mg, which only needs to be injected three times a week rather
than daily for the 20 mg version. Teva hopes the new version
will strengthen its position ahead of competition.
Chief Executive Erez Vigodman said the 40 mg version had
exceeded expectations, converting 51 percent of U.S. Copaxone
patients and reaching a U.S. market share of 16.9 percent. It
aims for a 65 percent conversion rate by year-end.
"We are ... making significant progress on our top
priorities for 2014: solidifying the foundation of Teva,
maintaining the Copaxone franchise, driving organic growth and
positioning Teva for long-term value creation," Vigodman said.
Teva expects to save $2 billion in gross expenses by 2017,
of which $800 million will flow to its bottom line.
He said Teva's strategy includes becoming a top three global
player in the pain and respiratory markets.
It expects to have 10 or more pain medicines on the market
by 2020, compared with four in 2014 with sales reaching $2
billion or more from $500 million this year.
In respiratory drugs, where it ranks No. 5, it sees sales
growing to $2.5 billion by 2019 from $1 billion this year.
Teva said large acquisitions were possible in both the
generic and specialty drug markets.
Teva declared a quarterly dividend of 1.21 shekels (35.3
cents) a share, unchanged from the first quarter.
(Editing by Steven Scheer and Susan Fenton)