(PRGO) Perrigo Cut to Neutral

We have downgraded Perrigo Company (PRGO) to Neutral from Outperform following the disappointing revenue numbers put out by the company in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 (ended June 30, 2012). The stock carries a Zacks #3 Rank (Hold rating) in the short run.

Perrigo’s fourth quarter fiscal 2012 revenues of $832 million fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $854 million, primarily due to weakness in the Consumer HealthCare (CHC) segment.

Total revenues were, however, up 18% year over year aided by the inclusion of $58 million of net sales from Paddock Laboratories (acquired by Perrigo in 2011) and $10 million from CanAm Care (whose assets were acquired by Perrigo in January 2012).

Apart from the CHC segment, Rx Pharmaceuticals (generic) segment sales, which were very encouraging in the first three quarters of fiscal 2012, were also disappointing in the final quarter, flat sequentially.

Moreover, Perrigo, which narrowly beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in terms of earnings mainly due to a low tax rate, expects fiscal 2013 earnings in the range of $5.30–$5.50, up 6%–10% from $4.99 per share recorded in fiscal 2012. The forecasted growth range is below the growth exhibited by the company in the last few years. The revenue miss and the below par guidance had a negative impact on the shares.

Furthermore, the stiff competition confronting the store brand products at Perrigo from big companies is a challenge for the company. The market for over the counter (OTC) pharmaceutical, generic prescription drugs and nutritional products is also highly competitive. Some of Perrigo’s competitors are Dr. Reddy‘s Laboratories (RDY) — OTC section, Watson Pharmaceuticals (WPI) — Rx Pharmaceuticals segment and Abbott Laboratories (ABT) — infant formula unit, among others.

We are impressed by Perrigo’s growth-by-acquisition strategy. In January 2012, Perrigo inked a deal to acquire the assets of Georgia-based private company CanAm Care, thereby expanding its presence in the diabetes care market. In July 2011, Perrigo acquired Paddock Labs to expand its generic Rx business. Such prudent acquisitions should drive growth at Perrigo in the coming quarters.

We are also impressed by Perrigo’s strong pipeline. On the fourth quarter fiscal 2012 conference call, the company announced that it intends to launch more than 60 new products in fiscal 2013, which could generate revenues of more than $190 million.

Read the full analyst report on “PRGO”
Read the full analyst report on “RDY”
Read the full analyst report on “WPI”
Read the full analyst report on “ABT”
Zacks Investment Research

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