Should You Buy Reckitt Benckiser Today?

LONDON -- I believe that shares in Reckitt Benckiser  (LSE: RB  ) (NASDAQOTH: RBGLY  ) are vastly overpriced and are overdue for a weighty correction. The stock has risen 19% since the turn of the year, and currently trades at a 35% premium to Canaccord Genuity's 3,425 pence target price.

The firm is a giant in the household cleaning product and non-prescription health-care space and whose global brands include Dettol, Clearasil, Nurofen, and Durex, among others. But in my opinion, its loss of exclusivity on its Suboxone drug -- which is used to combat narcotics addiction -- could harm revenues moving forward and sour investor appetite for the company.

Rivals gear up for assault
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) halted Reckitt Benckiser's patent on the anti-addiction product, a move that will herald the entry of cheaper, generic rivals to the Suboxone brand and harm sales over the medium to long term. Suboxone tablet sales in the U.S. represented around 5% of the firm's total revenues last year, while film made up closer to 10% of group turnover.

Indeed, BioDelivery Sciences International announced last month that it plans to file an NDA with the FDA for its Bunavail film by July, which is considered a massive threat to Suboxone moving forward. It reckons that the new film could grab between 25% and 35% of the branded market, and plans to launch the product next year.

Earnings pressure set to materialize
Broker Liberum Capital expects earnings per share (EPS) to nudge 1% lower in 2013 to 262 pence, before the effect of falling Suboxone revenues drive EPS 4% lower to 252 pence. The company currently trades on a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 17.7 and 18.5 for this year and next, trading at a premium to a forward earnings multiple of 14.5 for the wider household goods and home construction sector.

Reckitt Benckiser has steadily built the dividend in recent years -- 2012's 134 pence shareholder payout was up 7% from the previous year -- but yields are expected to remain around the 3.3% FTSE 100 average over the medium term. A figure of 3.1% and 3.3% are expected by Liberum's analysts in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

These prospective payments provide coverage just below the safety watermark of two times for these years, although I believe that the effect of falling earnings could cast doubt on the progress of its dividend policy moving forward.

The prescription for plump returns
Although Reckitt Benckiser presents too much risk in my opinion, check out this newly updated special report that highlights a host of other FTSE winners identified by ace fund manager Neil Woodford.

Woodford -- head of U.K. Equities at Invesco Perpetual -- has more than 30 years' experience in the industry, and has identified two other fantastic pharmaceutical specialists in the report set to deliver spectacular investor returns.

The report, compiled by The Motley Fool's crack team of analysts, is totally free and comes with no further obligation. Click here now to download your copy.

link


Read/Post Comments (1) | Recommend This Article (1)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Add your comment.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2357369, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/21/2014 8:32:41 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement