May 2, 2013 / 12:26 PM / in 5 years

New drugs help Actavis beat profit estimates

(Reuters) - Generic drugmaker Actavis Inc ACT.N, formerly Watson Pharmaceuticals, reported a higher-than-expected first-quarter profit after launching several new products, and raised its full-year profit forecast.

The world’s third-largest generic drugmaker changed its name from Watson after buying Swiss drugmaker Actavis Group in October last year as part of its strategy to expand in international markets and offer more specialty drugs.

Generic drugs sales, which contributed about 80 percent to first-quarter revenue, rose 37 percent to $1.53 billion in the quarter, driven mainly by the Actavis takeover.

The company posted a net loss of $102.8 million, or 79 cents per share, for the first quarter, due to charges related to the acquisition of Actavis and Uteron Pharma. It had earned $54.8 million, or 43 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, it earned $1.99 per share, above the average analyst estimate of $1.86, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 24 percent to $1.90 billion, slightly below the average analyst estimate of $1.97 billion.

New generic launches included a version of Suboxone opioid dependence drug and Zovirax herpes ointment. Actavis also sells its own branded drugs and distributes third-party products.

The company raised its 2013 adjusted profit forecast to $8.10-$8.50 per share from $7.70-$8.10. Analysts were expecting earnings of $8.08 per share. Actavis reiterated its full-year revenue forecast of $8.1 billion.

    The company said in January it expected earnings to rise at least 30 percent in 2013, but the forecast fell short of analysts’ expectations at the time.

    Actavis was the topic of takeover chatter last week after a source told Reuters that a proposed merger with larger rival Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc (VRX.TO) was put on hold as the companies failed to agree on the terms of a deal.

    The Canadian company was seeking to buy Actavis for $13 billion, the source said, a deal that would have created a combined company with a market value of $35 billion.

    Valeant reported a 12 percent rise in adjusted quarterly profit on Thursday, helped by higher product sales, and raised its full-year adjusted profit forecast.

    Actavis shares were untraded before the bell. They closed at $104.39 on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

    Reporting by Esha Dey in Bangalore

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