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AbbVie (ABBV) Q4 earnings preview: Generic competition might weigh on results

With only a few weeks left for closing the high-value acquisition of Allergan, AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV) is busy doing the groundwork for the integration. The company will be unveiling its December-quarter results Friday before the opening bell.

AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV) Q3 2019 Earnings Review

It is widely expected that earnings will rise 6% year-over-year to $2.19 per share, which falls at the upper end of the management’s guidance range. The bottom-line exceeded estimates in three of the trailing four quarters and the positive trend is likely to continue. The consensus estimate for December-quarter revenue is $8.7 billion, which represents a 5% increase.

Humira Slowdown

Of late, AbbVie’s sales have been negatively impacted by generic competition to its flagship product Humira, especially in the overseas market. However, the drug’s relatively stable demand in the U.S. will likely support top-line growth in the to-be-reported quarter.

Related: AbbVie Q3 2019 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

Mavyret, AbbVie’s HCV drugs that registered weak sales most of last year due to competition, might not contribute much to the results. Another factor that affects sales is unfavorable pricing.

Product Mix

On the positive side, the oncology segment has witnessed stable sales growth in the past, mainly for Imbruvica and Venclexta, which will likely continue this time. Also, initial estimates indicate that the company’s plaque-psoriasis drug Skyrizi and arthritis therapy Rinvoq have been doing well since their launch. Since these products are crucial for driving future growth, the market will be keeping a tab on their fourth-quarter performance.

Looking Back

In the third quarter, revenues moved up to $8.5 billion as weakness in the core Immunology segment was more than offset by a strong performance by the Hematologic Oncology unit. Consequently, adjusted earnings increased 9% annually to $2.33 per share and topped expectations.

The company this week said it achieved positive results from an advanced-stage clinical trial on Rinvoq for the treatment of psoriatic arthritis. The drug reportedly met both the primary and secondary endpoints of the study. It is expected to offset the impact of the ongoing slowdown in the sales of Humira.

Also see: Merck & Co. Q4 earnings beat estimates; revenue misses

After underperforming the market for most of 2019, AbbVie shares entered 2020 on a low note. The stock slipped to a three-month low last month but has been regaining strength since then.

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