What happens when you delay a meeting with analysts by a few months?
Just ask Amgen
Amgen was supposed to hold its analysts' meeting on Nov. 21. Late yesterday, it announced the meeting will happen Feb. 25, instead.
What's up with this? Should shareholders freak out and sell? Not so fast, Fools.
Amgen says it needs more time to provide accurate and adequate information concerning how a couple of issues will affect its long-term outlook. That's reasonable, given what's been going on with the company lately.
First, the government's Medicare and Medicaid program last week said it will reimburse Amgen for hospital outpatient uses of its anemia drug, Aranesp, at a level much lower than the current level. The new plan will start Jan. 1, 2003, and will affect about 10% of Amgen's sales. The company didn't release exactly how much less it will get for the drug, but it's hoping to convince the government to change the ruling.
Amgen also awaits results from the FDA's inspections (scheduled to take place this month) of its new Enbrel production facilities. Should it get the green light to use them, the undersupply of the rheumatoid arthritis drug that has haunted the company could be alleviated as soon as the first quarter of 2003. That would be excellent news.
Finally, Amgen awaits news about its legal case over patent infringement against Transkaryotic Therapies
With all this uncertainty, the company simply feels it can't provide accurate enough information this month. It will give 2003 financial guidance in a Dec. 12 conference call, but more detailed info will have to wait until February.
There's no need to punish Amgen for this. We all know that the market hates to be kept waiting, but the company is making the right call, here. Putting out inaccurate scenarios on time is more offensive than making shareholders wait for better information.