Teva shares plunge again after weak third-quarter

Stock price at lowest level since 2000

November 3, 2017 00:12
2 minute read.
Teva shares plunge again after weak third-quarter

A building in Jerusalem belonging to generic drug producer Teva. (photo credit: REUTERS/BAZ RATNER)


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Israeli drug giant Teva Pharmaceutical Industries reported dismal third-quarter earnings on Thursday, sending its stock into a tailspin as the world’s largest generic drugmaker faces rapidly falling prices of generic drugs in the US market.

Teva’s shares fell by 13.65% on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and by nearly 20% on the Nasdaq as of 3 p.m. in New York on Thursday, having lost some 65% in value since August.

Its share value now sits at its lowest mark since 2000.

The Petah Tikva-based company has weathered major blows this year, including a $34.7 billion debt load that could force credit agencies to lower its rating, greater competition in the American generic drug business that forced the company to lower its generics prices by around 10% this quarter – while the market had been expecting single-digit percentage price decreases – and significantly reduced cash flow.

“The market doesn’t have enough confidence in Teva. It seems like during this year, most of the things went wrong for this company,” said Sabina Levy, a pharmaceutical industry analyst Tel Aviv. She added that the gloomy financial forecast could force the company to cut costs locally, including additional layoffs and reducing salaries.

The company cut its 2017 earnings per share forecast from $4.30-$4.50 to $3.77- $3.87, while the market was expecting a higher figure.

Its revenue forecast also declined, to $22.2b.-$22.3b. from $22.8b.-$23.2b. Much of that is due to competitor Mylan NV getting US approval in October to sell a 40-milligram generic version of Teva’s blockbuster Copaxone, a lucrative multiple sclerosis treatment.

Teva’s third quarter generic drug profits fell to $619m from $982m. a year earlier, as sales decreased to $3.01b. from $3.26b.

Teva also faces a drop in forecasted cash flow, partly due to greater competition and ongoing litigation with competitor Allergan that has not been resolved.

Teva believed that Allergan would pay it approximately $1b. as a result by the end of the year, but that now looks unlikely, Levy said.

Most Israeli pension funds and public savings are exposed in some way to Teva’s stock price – given that Teva is listed in the leading indexes – and that could affect returns.

The company’s CEO, Kare Schultz, started the job this week. During a conference call on Thursday, he promised additional cost-saving measures, including possible cost-cutting at R&D centers, in sales and marketing and in production and logistics.

The firm faces irate investors and possible pressure to split the company into two parts, one being a specialty business and the other focusing on its generic drugs.

Much of the company’s debt came after Teva bought Allergan’s generic drug business for $40.5b. in 2015. Allergan had agreed to hold on to Teva’s shares for at least one year, but on Wednesday, the company said it would sell 10% of its stake in the Israeli company.

Teva employs some 6,800 people between its headquarters in Petah Tikva and plants in Kfar Saba and Neot Hovav. While the company garnered $22 billion in sales last year, it was recently dethroned as Israel’s largest company by market value, by Check Point Software Technologies Ltd.

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