Whether you want to collect passive income or record market-beating returns, investing in dividend-paying companies can help you achieve both goals. And with the equities market currently experiencing a downturn, many dividend stocks look reasonably valued. Income-seeking investors have plenty of options from which to choose.
Let's consider two of them: Biotech giant Gilead Sciences (GILD 1.06%) and generic drug specialist Viatris (VTRS 1.27%). Here's why both healthcare companies are worth purchasing for dividend-seeking investors.
1. Gilead Sciences
The past two years have been rough for Gilead Sciences. The company failed to earn regulatory authorization for two highly promising candidates while sales growth in its HIV franchise has been hindered due to the loss of patent exclusivity for some of its products. Thankfully, there are also some bright spots for the company.
Gilead Sciences has been one of the most successful drugmakers in the coronavirus market. The company's antiviral, Veklury, was one of the first to earn authorization and approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat COVID-19. Although many more variants of the virus that causes the disease have emerged since the medicine first earned authorization in the U.S. in May 2020, Veklury remains a vital tool in our fight against the pandemic.
By contrast, some therapies that earned authorization after Veklury seem less effective against newer variants. That's the case for Regeneron's REGEN-COV. In January, the FDA revised REGEN-COV's authorization, limiting its use only to those patients who are likely to have been infected by a variant of the coronavirus against which the antibody cocktail is likely to be effective.
COVID-19 is still with us, and it may become endemic. Veklury's ability to remain relevant after all this time is impressive, and the medicine could continue to contribute to Gilead Sciences' top line for a while. Further, despite recent setbacks, Gilead Sciences' is still one of the leading companies in the HIV market. As of the first quarter, the company held a 75% share of the HIV drug space.
Some of the company's medicine in this segment, especially Biktarvy and Descovy, continue to perform well. HIV screening and diagnosis remain below their pre-pandemic levels. Once that changes, Gilead Sciences' performance in this area should improve. Gilead Sciences has a pipeline full of exciting programs. It is currently running more than 50 clinical trials.
Despite recent regulatory headwinds, investors can expect Gilead Sciences to get back on track and earn important approvals sooner than later. That will help the company's revenue and earnings growth continue in the right direction. Gilead Sciences offers a juicy dividend yield of 4.81% and a conservative cash payout ratio of 36.5%.
Generic drug manufacturer Viatris has easily lagged the market since it started trading publicly in November 2020. Perhaps there are good reasons behind this lackluster performance. Viatris was formed when the generic drug specialist formerly known as Mylan merged with Pfizer's off-patent medicine unit, Upjohn. Pfizer shed this segment for a reason; it had become a dead weight on its top line.
And Viatris seems to have inherited some of Upjohn's problems. Sales growth has been unimpressive and, in some cases, nonexistent. With that said, Viatris' forward P/E is just 2.8. Even with the company's issues, it looks too attractive at current levels, especially given relatively recent developments.
Viatris is selling its biosimilar portfolio to India-based Biocon Biologics for about $3.3 billion. The price represents a substantial premium over the estimated adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) of Viatris' biosimilar portfolio for 2022.
The company will be able to use the proceeds from this transaction, which should close in the second half of this year, to invest back into the business. Meanwhile, Viatris expects roughly $600 million in revenue in 2022 from new product launches. A more focused business (thanks to the transaction with Biocon Biologics) coupled with new products and the funds to invest heavily in research and development should help propel revenue and earnings growth for Viatris.
Meanwhile, the drugmaker intends to reward shareholders with dividend growth and share buybacks. Viatris currently offers a yield of 4.93% and a modest cash payout ratio of 19.6% that leaves plenty of room for future dividend hikes. Viatris may not be the most exciting company, but income seekers will find what they are looking for with the drugmaker.