On the surface, Pfizer
Not that it really matters. Pfizer didn't buy Wyeth for the top-line growth. The purchase was made to bolster earnings through cost-cutting measures. On the surface, that one looks good, too, with earnings per share up 11% to $0.60 per share after adjusting for charges from the acquisition and other items.
That's exactly what we'd like to see: cost-cutting measures more than making up for added interest costs and increased share count due to the acquisition. And it seems to have happened in the first full quarter of the year. Pretty impressive, no? Let's not get too excited just yet.
The first quarter of 2009 was a pretty dismal quarter for most companies, Pfizer included. If we go back to 2008, adjusted earnings were $0.61 per share. So the company has been essentially flat over the past two years. For this year, Pfizer is guiding for adjusted earnings per share of $2.10 to $2.20; better than last year's $2.02, but not nearly as good as 2008's $2.42.
Top-line growth from acquisitions and one-time benefits from cost cutting are nice, but Pfizer needs to get back to real growth. That can only come from launching new products and growing current offerings.
Sales of cancer drug Sutent were up 28%, but the chance of future expansion into other indications seems dismal. Pfizer's best hope for a major seller lies in the Alzheimer's arena. If phase 3 results for bapineuzumab come out positive, Pfizer and partners Elan
Pfizer's behemoth size is helpful for cutting costs, but it makes growing quite difficult. Investors should be content with their solid 4.2% dividend, because revenue growth -- and therefore share price growth -- may be harder to come by.
Alex Dumortier thinks everyone needs to own dividend stocks.
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