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J&J (JNJ) Q4 Earnings Top; Seeks Options for Diabetes Unit

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Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Free Report) reported a rather mixed fourth quarter, with earnings beating expectations while sales missing the same. Moreover, the healthcare giant issued guidance for 2017 and announced that it is looking for strategic options for its diabetes care division. Shares declined around 1.7% in pre-market trading.

In the past one year, J&J’s share price was up 18.1%. This compares favorably with the 1.7% decrease witnessed by the Zacks classified Large-Cap Pharma industry.

Earnings Beat

The healthcare giant’s fourth-quarter 2016 earnings came in at $1.58 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.56 by 1.28% and increasing 9.7% from the year-ago period.

Including one-time items, J&J reported fourth-quarter earnings of $1.38 per share, up 20% from the year-ago period.

Sales Miss

Sales came in at $18.11 billion, slightly missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $18.12 billion. Sales increased 1.7% from the year-ago quarter, reflecting an operational increase of 2.3% and a negative currency impact of 0.6%. However, a lower number of shipping days in the quarter hurt sales by 480 basis points (bps).

Fourth-quarter sales grew 2.6% in the domestic market to $9.54 billion and 0.6% in international markets to $8.57 billion, reflecting 1.9% operational growth, partially offset by a 1.3% negative currency impact.

Sales in Details

The Pharmaceutical segment sales grew 2.1% year over year to $8.2 billion, reflecting 2.6% operational growth and a 0.5% negative currency impact.

Sales in the domestic market increased 1.9% to $5 billion, while international sales grew 2.4% to $3.23 billion.

New products like Imbruvica, Xarelto and Darzalex continued to perform well. Other growth drivers were Stelara, Invega Sustenna and Simponi.

However, the hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment Olysio continued to feel the impact of additional competition with sales declining 77.3% from the year-ago quarter. Invega sales also declined due to generic competition. Invokana/Invokamet sales declined 0.3% and Zytiga sales fell 10.7%.

Importantly, sales of the blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug Remicade, marketed in partnership with Merck & Co., Inc. MRK, declined 3.3% in the quarter with U.S. sales declining 1.7%. In this regard, we would like to mention that Pfizer Inc. PFE launched its Inflectra injection, a biosimilar version of Remicade in the U.S., late last November. This posed strong competition to Remicade. Meanwhile, the biosimilar competition for Remicade had already entered several major EU markets in Feb 2015.

J&J’s Pharma segment also achieved some clinical milestones during the quarter including label expansion for products like Stelara and Darzalex.

The Medical Devices segment sales came in at $6.44 billion, up 0.2% from the year-ago period comprising an operational increase of 0.6% and negative currency movement of 0.4%.

Sales in the domestic market declined 0.1% year over year to $3.15 billion. International market sales inched up 0.6% year over year to $3.29 billion.

The Consumer segment recorded revenues of $3.43 billion in the reported quarter, up 3.4% from the fourth quarter of 2015. Foreign currency movement negatively impacted sales in the segment by 1.5%. Sales in the domestic market grew 12.7% from the year-ago period to $1.39 billion.

Meanwhile, the international segment recorded a decline of 2.1% to $2.05 billion, reflecting an operational increase of 0.2% and a negative currency impact of 1.5%.

2016 Results

Full-year 2016 sales rose 2.6% to $71.89 billion, falling slightly short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $71.92 billion.

Adjusted earnings for 2016 were $6.73 per share, above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $6.71 and up 8.5% year over year. Earnings were in line with the guidance range of $6.68–$6.73 per share.

2017 Guidance

J&J expects adjusted earnings per share in the range of $6.93 to $7.08 in 2017. The Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged at $7.06 per share. The earnings guidance reflects expected operational growth in the range of 4.8% to 7.0%.

The revenue guidance is in the range of $74.1 billion to $74.8 billion, reflecting operational growth in the range of 4.0% to 5.0%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate is $74.61 billion.

Possible Divesture of Diabetes Business

J&J announced that it is evaluating “potential strategic options” for its diabetes care unit. The suitors include LifeScan, Inc., Animas Corporation, and Calibra Medical, Inc. It may form partnerships, joint ventures or strategic alliances, or sell these businesses either separately or together.

Johnson & Johnson Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise


Johnson & Johnson Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | Johnson & Johnson Quote

The company carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Our Take

This was the first sales miss for J&J in the past one year. Though the Pharmaceutical segment is performing well, the Medical Device segment continues to lag due to slowing demand. However, Consumer segment sales improved in the quarter. Nonetheless, we believe contribution from new as well as core products, share buybacks and the restructuring initiative will drive results going forward.

However, J&J made no mention of a possible transaction with Swiss biotechnology company Actelion Ltd. ALIOF. In Dec 2016, J&J said it approached Actelion with a takeover offer.

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