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The company recently reported its financial results for the third quarter of 2011 in November. Adjusted earnings per share during the quarter came in at 7 cents per share, 2 cents above the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Earnings were hurt by lower revenues, which declined 41.1% to approximately $54.0 million. Weakness in the manufacturing segment (down 43.9%) was responsible for the slide in revenues. Revenues were well below the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $70 million.
American Oriental earns revenues from two operating segments – manufacturing and distribution. While the manufacturing business accounted for approximately 91.1% ($49.1 million) of the company’s total revenue, the distribution business – Nuo Hua generated the remaining revenues of $4.9 million. (Read our full coverage on the earnings at Revenues Decline at American Oriental).
We note that the company operates in a highly competitive environment. The excessive competition confronting the company’s products concern us.
Moreover, over the last few years, American Oriental’s operating margin has declined steadily. From 32% in 2007, 24% in 2008, 20% in 2009, the margin hit a low of approximately 10% in 2010. If this declining trend continues, the company’s bottom-line will be severely affected.
However, we note that the pharmaceutical industry in China is growing rapidly. The growth is attributable to the government’s efforts to improve the healthcare infrastructure coupled with its goal to achieve near-universal health coverage. We believe prescription drug sales will continue their growth trajectory as China aims to reform its health care sector to incorporate unaddressed rural markets. Management believes that by 2020 the entire Chinese population will have access to safe, effective and affordable healthcare services. The rapidly growing Chinese pharma market provides a lucrative opportunity to American Oriental to increase its revenue.
Further, American Oriental believes in the strategy of growth by acquisitions. The company has completed multiple acquisitions in the past few years which have expanded its product portfolio and contributed to growth. For example, with the acquisition of Nuo Hua Investment Company Ltd. in 2008, the distribution of pharmaceutical products became a part of the company’s operations. American Oriental currently distributes multiple pharmaceutical products. We believe that such profitable acquisitions in future will aid the company’s growth.
We prefer to remain on the sidelines till further visibility is obtained on the growth of the Chinese pharmaceutical industry and its impact on American Oriental.
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