AbbVie boosts 2014 earnings forecast

SHARE AbbVie boosts 2014 earnings forecast

AbbVie on Monday raised its 2014 earnings outlook, citing its performance so far this year and positive trends it expects to continue.

The North Chicago-based drugmaker boosted its earnings forecast by 6 cents a share to a range of between $3.06 and $3.16 a share on an adjusted basis.

The company’s forecast excludes any potential revenue from the expected U.S. launch later this year of its hepatitis C therapy, which has been fast-tracked by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

AbbVie anticipates strong results in 2015 from several drugs in its pipelines, including two cancer treatments.

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Meanwhile, takeover target Shire on Monday highlighted its potential as a standalone drugmaker, offering investors a rosy projection of its earnings potential that it believes is not reflected in the acquisition proposal made by AbbVie.

Chief executive Flemming Ornskov told analysts that Shire PLC should remain independent, and that it expects to more than double its 2013 annual product sales to $10 billion by 2020.

AbbVie’s pursuit of Shire comes at a time of wheeling and dealing in the pharmaceutical industry, as drugmakers look to grow or eliminate noncore assets while focusing on strengths.

Alex Arfaei, a pharmaceutical analyst for BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc., said acquiring Shire would “meaningfully improve” AbbVie’s business.

“Overall, we were encouraged by the tone of the Shire call, and believe that a friendly offer could be possible,” Arfaei wrote. “We believe that AbbVie does have room to meaningfully sweeten its offer.”

He estimated that AbbVie could increase the cash component of its offer from 20.44 pounds per share to 34 pounds, which would value Shire at just under 60 pounds per share, or $60 billion.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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