Lannett Company (LCI) announced lackluster fiscal 2019 third-quarter results in May. Sales were down nearly 1%, and earnings dropped by 16.5%.

The drugmaker reported its fourth-quarter results after the market closed on Tuesday. This time around, Lannett had some good news for investors. Here's what you need to know about the company's Q4 update.

Two female technicians working in drug factory

Image source: Getty Images.

By the numbers

Lannett reported fourth-quarter revenue of $133.8 million, down 22% year over year. However, this figure was much better than the average analysts' Q4 revenue estimate of $121.7 million.

The company reported a net loss of $7.6 million, or $0.20 per share, on a generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) basis. This reflected a marked improvement from the net loss of $11.4 million, or $0.30 per share, in the same period in 2018. 

Lannett's adjusted net income in the fourth quarter was $14.7 million, or $0.37 per share. This was well below the adjusted net income of $24.5 million, or $0.64 per share, posted in the prior-year period. On the other hand, Lannett handily beat the consensus analysts' adjusted earnings estimate of $0.21 per share.

Behind the numbers

There was one huge reason why Lannett's revenue fell from the prior-year period. This was the company's first full quarter without thyroid deficiency drug levothyroxine. The absence of this drug in Lannett's lineup caused the company's sales to be around $60 million lower than the level recorded in the same quarter of 2018.

The good news for Lannett, though, was that sales for many of its other products continued to climb. Sales for its anti-psychosis medications more than doubled year over year. Lannett also saw strong sales growth for its cardiovascular, central nervous system, and pain management drugs.

Lannett's bottom-line improvement in the fourth quarter stemmed primarily from lower asset impairment charges than it incurred in the prior-year period. The company also had lower restructuring expenses. These items were partially offset by higher research and development costs and higher selling, general, and administrative expenses.

The drugmaker's adjusted net income looked much better than its GAAP net loss thanks to a boatload of adjustments. These helpful adjustments included adding in $7.9 million in amortization of intangibles, $5.8 million in asset impairment charges, and $4.4 million to exclude results from the ceased Cody active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) business.

Looking ahead

Lannett provided full-year 2020 revenue guidance of between $525 million and $540 million. This range was well above the consensus analysts' 2020 revenue expectation of around $506 million. Lannett also anticipates full-year adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) between $145 million and $160 million.

CEO Tim Crew said that Lannette expects to "launch a number of new products that will continue to build our business in the near term and have begun adding products to our pipeline that have significant potential in the medium term and beyond." He expressed optimism about the company's future after some major issues in recent years.

Investors were also upbeat about Lannett following the drugmaker's Q4 update, with shares soaring nearly 30% in after-hours trading on Tuesday. Investing in pharmaceutical stocks comes with plenty of risks, though. The generic-drug market is especially challenging. Lannett seems to have potentially turned the corner, but the road ahead could still be a bumpy one.