Pfizer Rearranges the Deck Chairs

Here's a way to spin your wheels: Pfizer (NYSE: PFE  ) is realigning, but the changes won't result in any new job cuts. I'm not sure how exactly that is going to help the bottom line.

Pfizer is moving away from its geographically focused business units, instead creating new units based on what they sell. It had already established three units to sell animal health products, oncology products, and products that have lost patent protection but still sell well globally. Now it's adding a unit to specialize in primary care and another for specialty-care products.

While those specialties will span Europe and the U.S., Pfizer isn't giving up its geographic focus completely: It's also establishing a unit to focus on emerging markets. That unit is the only thing in this announcement that makes a whole lot of sense. Health-care costs in developed countries aren't likely to keep growing at their high pace for much longer. In fact, there are indications that they are slowing already. So global drugmakers are going to have to move further into India, China, and other places where prosperity has brought increased wealth over the past few years.

Many companies are doing just that. For instance, GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK  ) announced earlier this year that it would push into emerging markets. Sanofi-Aventis (NYSE: SNY  ) has also made a push into emerging markets with its purchase of Czech generic-drug maker Zentiva. Even relatively small Intuitive Surgical (Nasdaq: ISRG  ) is selling its daVinci robots in China through local Chindex (Nasdaq: CHDX  ) .

Except for the new focus on emerging markets, it just looks like Pfizer is rearranging the deck chairs. What it really needs to do is spend some of the cash it has been hoarding to invest in its future, not change its employees' supervisors.

The good news for investors is that Pfizer has become pretty cheap. With a dividend yield topping 7% right now, investors can afford to take a wait-and-see attitude while the company figures out what it's going to do post-Lipitor. The off-patent deadline is approaching.

Pfizer and Glaxo are both Income Investor recommendations. To see how dividend-paying stocks can offer both secure income and the opportunity for growth, take a free look at this newsletter with a 30-day trial. 

Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Pfizer, which is also an Inside Value pick. Intuitive Surgical is a Rule Breakers recommendation. The Fool's disclosure policy covers emerging markets as well.


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