By Bill Berkrot and Natalie Grover
(Reuters) – Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday reported disappointing pharmaceutical and consumer product sales as revenue missed analyst estimates, sending its shares sharply lower.
However, cost controls and lower taxes helped the healthcare conglomerate beat Wall Street profit forecasts.
J&J shares, part of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, fell 3.6 percent to $121.11 in the biggest one-day percentage decline in more than eight years as the company said it expected a slower growth rate for pharmaceuticals this year.
Overall sales of $17.77 billion in the quarter fell short of analysts’ average estimate of $18.04 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company, which is on track to close its $30-billion acquisition of Actelion in the current quarter, issued a new full-year forecast to include Europe’s largest biotech.
With Actelion, J&J expects 2017 sales of $75.4 billion to $76.1 billion and adjusted earnings of $7.00 to $7.15 per share. It forecast Actelion will contribute 35-40 cents to earnings per share in 2018.
“The expected benefit from the Actelion acquisition this year came in lower than our estimates,” said Edward Jones analyst Ashtyn Evans. “Additionally, the company’s total growth came in lower than we expected, which is disappointing.”
Without Actelion, J&J maintained its prior forecast for sales of $74.1 billion to $74.8 billion and adjusted earnings of $6.93 to $7.08 per share.
“We remain on track for achieving our full-year guidance,” Chief Financial Officer Dominic Caruso said on a conference call.
J&J is the first major pharmaceutical company to report quarterly results since Republican attempts to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system failed. While forecasts do not include expectations of tax reform, Caruso expressed confidence that Washington will come through with a lower U.S. corporate tax rate at some point.
Pharmaceutical sales rose just 0.8 percent to $8.25 billion, constrained by competition and pricing pressure, which hurt the diabetes drug Invokana and Xarelto blood thinner.
Newer blood cancer drugs Darzalex and Imbruvica demonstrated very strong growth, while prostate cancer drug Zytiga struggled with U.S. sales off 14.3 percent.
Consumer products grew 1 percent to $3.23 billion, held back by a slowdown at retailers, inventory destocking and economic issues in Latin America.
J&J said it expects business to accelerate over the rest of the year, helped by the introduction of new products.
“You always worry that these things don’t bounce back as quickly as you would like,” said Guggenheim Securities analyst Tony Butler, adding that J&J has become dependent on acquisitions for growth.
Medical devices grew 3 percent to $6.29 billion, about in line with expectations, including sales from its purchase of Abbott Medical Optics.
The company said it was continuing to evaluate its options for certain diabetes businesses, including possible partnerships or divestitures. That does not include its diabetes drugs.
Excluding items, J&J earned $1.83 per share, beating Wall Street expectations by 6 cents.
Net earnings in the first quarter were $4.42 billion, or $1.61 per share, compared with $4.46 billion, or $1.59 per share, in the year-earlier period.
(Reporting by Bill Berkrot in New York and Natalie Grover in Bengaluru; Editing by Martina D’Couto and Nick Zieminski)