Wednesday February 08, 2012
by J. Royden Ward, editor Cabot Benjamin Graham Value Letter
To qualify for a spot in our model portfolios, companies must be leaders in their industries, have a history of rock-solid sales and earnings growth, and are headed by outstanding management who will ﬁnd ways to increase future growth.
One such buy is Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA); based in Israel, the company develops, makes and sells generic and proprietary-branded drugs.
The company has become the largest generic drug producing company in the world, led by management’s aggressive acquisition and product development programs.
The performance of TEVA shares has been disappointing for quite some time now. First, investors avoided the company because Copaxone, its largest selling drug, which treats multiple sclerosis, will meet some new competition within the next few years, possibly spelling trouble for Teva.
However, Teva has developed a new oral MS drug of its own, called Laquinimod, which will likely keep Teva in the lead on MS treatment.
Market share will likely diminish somewhat, though. The new drug’s efﬁcacy has been questioned, but management is conﬁdent their new MS drug will become a blockbuster.
Next, Teva has had to close several small manufacturing plants, brieﬂ y, because of health issues.
In addition, the company had fewer drug launches in 2011 than in previous years. Teva still has a strong pipeline with more than 200 new drugs in various stages of development.
New launches began to gather speed at the end of 2011 and should continue to accelerate in 2012.
Finally, Teva is acquiring companies and forming joint ventures at a dizzying pace. Management sees an opportunity to buy drug companies at reasonable prices, which will help Teva to diversify geographically and product-wise.
Teva’s latest proposed purchase of Cephalon will add more than 10% to sales in 2012 and offers rapid growth opportunities.
And Teva’s joint venture with Procter & Gamble in Europe, whereby P&G supplies the marketing and TEVA makes the drug and health products, could turn into a big win for both companies, especially if they expand the geographic scope of the venture.
Sales increased 11% and EPS rose 7% in 2011. Sales and EPS will likely increase 11% and 14% respectively in 2012 and accelerate thereafter.
At 8.1 times our 2012 EPS estimate of 5.56, TEVA shares are undervalued. The dividend has been raised aggressively during the past decade and now yields 1.9%.
We believe the stock price will increase to our Minimum Sell Price of 81.01 within two to three years. TEVA is very low risk.
Learn more about this financial newsletter at J. Royden Ward's Cabot Benjamin Graham Value Letter.