- After completing the sale of two business units this quarter, Abbott beat analysts' expectations, with adjusted EPS of 47 cents, five cents higher than expected. Eli Lilly also beat the analyst consensus of $0.76 Q1 EPS by 11 cents.
- Abbott made two big sales in February. It sold its animal health unit to Zoetis for $255 million and also sold its developed markets generics business to Mylan for a 22% stake in the company (which has been paying off quite nicely for Abbott). Lilly, despite losing patent exclusivity for big products like Cymbalta, performed well on the strength of new medications like the cancer med Cyramza and higher prices for its products in the U.S.
- Adjusted earnings for Abbott were $719 million, compared with $535 million in Q1 2014—a 34% year-over-year increase. Lilly's sales and revenues fell 1% (less than analyst estimates) amid a challenging currency landscape for global U.S. pharma companies, while its main product, the diabetes drug Humalog, raked in $8 million more in sales than expected.
Abbott's Q1 earnings were bolstered by a one-time, after-tax gain of its two business units; however, beyond that, Abbott is benefiting by focusing on emerging markets—a sector which grew 13% for Abbott in the first quarter.
This company's strong growth trajectory in global markets was bolstered by several product introductions in the first quarter, including a glucose-monitoring system in India, a drug-eluting stent in Japan and the adult nutrition drink, Ensure, in China. The company intends to keep turning its pharma focus towards developing markets—a strategy that seems to be working well.
As for Lilly, the company seems to be bouncing back after a tough year that saw the Indianapolis-based pharma take a hit after two major drug expirations. Lilly CEO John C. Lechleiter emphasized the strength of the company's late-stage pipeline and the revenue boost from Lilly's purchase of Novartis' animal health unit.
Abbott and Lilly shares were both down about 1% in morning trading on Thursday.