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Earnings Preview: AmerisourceBergen

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Pharmaceutical services company AmerisourceBergen Corp. (ABC - Free Report) is scheduled to report its second quarter fiscal 2012 results before the opening bell on April 26, 2012. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the second quarter is 81 cents (year-over-year increase of 5.2%) on revenues of $20,056 million (year-over-year increase of 1.5%).

First Quarter Recap

AmerisourceBergen’s first quarter fiscal 2012 earnings increased 10.5% to 63 cents, in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Earnings were spurred by higher revenues and a lower share count.

Total revenue for the quarter climbed 2.4% to $20.4 billion, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $20.0 billion. The increase in revenues was the result of a 2.1% climb in AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation’s revenue, and a 3.9% rise in AmerisourceBergen Specialty Group revenue.

Agreement of Estimate Revisions

Over the last 30 days, 2 of the 11 analysts covering AmerisourceBergen have increased their earnings estimates for the second quarter of fiscal 2012. We believe that the upward revisions reflect the benefits which the company will reap as a result of distributing the generic versions of Lipitor and Zyprexa.

The generic versions of both Pfizer Inc.’s (PFE - Free Report) Lipitor and Eli Lilly & Co.’s (LLY - Free Report) Zyprexa were launched in the fourth quarter of calendar year 2011. Thus, the first quarter of calendar year 2012 (second quarter of fiscal 2012) is the first full quarter in which AmerisourceBergen will incorporate the sales of generic Lipitor and Zyprexa.

We expect generic launches over regular intervals to aid the company’s bottom line, which is forecasted in the range of $2.74 to $2.84 per share for fiscal 2012.

Magnitude of Estimate Revisions

The earnings estimate revision witnessed over the last month were almost negligible for the second quarter of fiscal 2012. However, earnings estimate for fiscal 2012 went up by a cent to $2.82 per share over the last 30 days.

Surprise History

AmerisourceBergen has surpassed earnings estimates in three of the last four quarters. The company, while missing estimates by 1.59% in the first quarter of fiscal 2012, recorded a maximum positive surprise of 11.59% in the second quarter of 2011. On an average, the earnings surprise was 5.13%.

Our View

We currently have a Neutral recommendation on AmerisourceBergen. The stock carries a Zacks #3 Rank (Hold rating) in the short run. We believe the company is well-positioned for growth given the strong performance of its generics business. AmerisourceBergen boasts a robust plasma and vaccine business, which are expected to contribute strong revenues in the coming quarters.

However, AmerisourceBergen operates in a highly competitive pharmaceutical distribution market, which has players like Cardinal Health Inc. (CAH - Free Report) and McKesson Corp. (MCK - Free Report) .

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