Merging Mylan Meanders Through 2008

Mylan's (NYSE: MYL  ) stock suffered ever since it announced it would acquire Merck KGaA's generic-drug business last May. In the larger-is-better world of generic-drug makers, it's kind of surprising that investors haven't gotten behind this deal. Fools who can look a little farther into the future might be set for a steal, after the stock dropped another 8% on Friday.

Year-over-year comparisons are rather useless, since Mylan doubled in size after the acquisition. Compared to last quarter, though, Mylan's revenue slipped about 9%. The company blamed much of that decrease on middlemen cutting its inventories. The one bright spot was its generic fentanyl patch, which gained a 50% market share after competitors Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ  ) and Novartis (NYSE: NVS  ) were forced to recall their products.

The synergies from Mylan's latest acquisition are beginning to work, however. Even with the lower revenue, adjusted income rose 11% quarter over quarter, thanks to higher adjusted gross margins and lower selling, general, and administrative costs. The company expects about $275 million in synergies by the end of 2008.

Mylan's biggest problem right now is that it's in debt up to its eyebrows -- $5.3 billion, to be exact. Fortunately, it does have a plan to pay down some of the debt. Mylan got $370 million when it sold off some of its royalty rights for high-blood-pressure medication Bystolic to Forest Labs (NYSE: FRX  ) , and it's also planning to sell its branded-drug business, Dey. Both should help Mylan get out of the giant hole it's dug itself into.

Mylan predicts that earnings per share will grow by a more-than-50% compounded annual rate for the next two years. Trading around 25 times 2008 expected earnings, Mylan looks like a steal at these prices, provided the company can make its synergies work.

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MYL $37.02 Down -0.59 -1.57%
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