Thermo Fisher set to benefit from demand for testing kits, vaccines

2 minute read

A scientist researcher, wearing protective gear, shows a box controlling the air quality in the lab at the Thermo Fisher plant, former Novasep, producing COVID-19 vaccines for AstraZeneca in Seneffe, Belgium, February 10, 2021. REUTERS/Yves Herman

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Oct 26 (Reuters) - Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc's (TMO.N) third-quarter profit is likely to get a boost from a rebound in COVID-19 testing due to the highly contagious Delta variant and sustained demand for vaccines against the coronavirus, Wall Street analysts said.

In July, when cases eased in the United States, the company cut its annual sales forecast for COVID-19 tests by $900 million. But the demand has again picked up pace in recent months amid a surge in Delta-led infections.

The world's largest maker of scientific instruments, which also supplies raw materials for COVID-19 vaccines and therapies, may see some benefit from the United States authorizing booster doses for some age-groups.

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However, Thermo Fisher is unlikely to lift its testing forecast, according to Atlantic Equities analyst James Mainwaring, as it shifts its focus to its core business of making scientific instruments used in pharmaceutical and academic research.

The business took a hit last year as the pandemic disrupted research activities, but showed a strong recovery in the second quarter.

THE CONTEXT

** Thermo Fisher's COVID-19 response revenue, which consists of supply for vaccines and therapies as well as testing kits, helped cushion the hit to its mainstay business from COVID-19 curbs and beat profit expectations for the past few quarters.

** Demand for test kits from employers in the United States have surged in the past few months and has even resulted in a supply crunch as the U.S. government mandated big employers to inoculate their workers and test them every week. read more

** Last week, rival Abbott Laboratories (ABT.N) raised its 2021 profit forecast due to the recent uptick in testing demand. However, Quest Diagnostics (DGX.N) warned of a slowdown in demand through the rest of the year as infections decline. read more

THE FUNDAMENTALS

** Thermo Fisher is expected to report third-quarter revenue of $8.39 billion on Oct. 27, according to the mean estimate from 15 analysts, based on Refinitiv data

** Thermo Fisher reported overall second-quarter sales of $9.27 billion.

Reuters Graphics

WALL STREET SENTIMENT

** The current average analyst rating on Thermo Fisher shares is "buy", with eight analysts rating it "strong buy", 12 "buy" and two "hold"

** Wall Street's median 12-month price target is $670

** The company's shares have risen about 30.5% so far this year

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Reporting by Amruta Khandekar and Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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