Teva Pharmaceutical Has It All: Value, Growth and Yield

Jan.15.11 | About: Teva Pharmaceutical (TEVA)
Headquartered in Israel, Teva (NASDAQ:TEVA) is the world's largest generic drug maker, which markets over 1200 molecules in over 60 countries throughout the world. In addition to their generic portfolio, Teva also possesses a strong branded portfolio led by Copaxone, the world's leading injectable therapy for multiple sclerosis. Teva generates high levels of cash flow, has a very strong debt to equity ratio of 18% and therefore, has the scale and financial muscle to be more flexible and aggressive with their business model than most of their peers.
Strong History of Operating Excellence
The following historical F.A.S.T. Graph plots Teva’s earnings growth since calendar year 2000. Earnings growth in excess of 28% per annum was far in excess of any of its peers. The only blemishes on this excellent record were the flattening of earnings in 2007 and a slight drop of earnings in 2008. Both of these instances can be attributed to one-time charges, most of which were associated with the termination of a licensing agreement to distribute Copaxone by Sanofi-Aventis (NYSE:SNY) as well as integration costs for several bolt on acquisitions that Teva made. However, core business remained strong as sales per share and cash flow per share both increased strongly during these years.
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This next graph correlates monthly closing stock prices with Teva's earnings per share. Based on this price and earnings correlated graph, it appears that Teva’s stock price was undervalued for the last five years (since 2005). In other words, the black monthly closing stock price line is significantly below the orange earnings justified valuation line. However, as you'll soon see, there is more than meets the eye regarding these last five years' apparent undervaluation. This will become evident by shortening the time period that we measure.
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This third of our graphs shortens the time frame measured to only five years (the graph says six years because it includes one year of forecasting). Because of the weakening of earnings-per-share growth during 2007 and 2008, Teva’s average earnings per share growth rate was reduced from over 28% per annum to just over 20% per annum. Although this is still strongly above-average earnings growth, the market applied a reduced normal PE ratio valuation of 16.6 (blue line with asterisks).
In theory at least, 20% growth would imply a PEG ratio valuation of 20 times earnings. However, there was clearly some pessimism built in to this lower than historically normal valuation. In addition to this reduced earnings growth rate, there are some additional concerns regarding competition and patent challenges to Teva's core branded drug Copaxone. With Teva's PE ratio currently under 12 times earnings, these issues are having a greater impact the closer we get to pending patent expiration for Copaxone in 2014 or potentially earlier. These issues will be expanded upon later in this report.
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Our next historical price and earnings correlated graph on Teva adds in dividends (light blue shaded area stacked on top for visual perspective). Also, performance results are calculated for the period spanning calendar year 2002 to current, and include a dividend cash flow table. Even with their current valuation extremely low, Teva was able to significantly outperform the S&P 500 on both capital appreciation and total dividend income generated.
This is a real testament to the power of earnings growth, especially when you consider that Teva's current PE ratio of 11.9 is significantly below the S&P 500's current PE ratio of 15.2. This is especially confusing when you consider that Teva's compound earnings growth rate of 28.1% is more than five times faster than the S&P 500's earnings growth rate of 5.2% over this same time period. Somehow, this makes no sense to us at all.
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Historical Concluding Remarks
When looked at from a historical perspective it seems that Teva does possess all three attributes listed in the title of this article. At 11.9 times earnings Teva trades at a significant discount to the 15.2 times earnings level that the S&P 500 (the general stock market) trades at. Consequently, Teva’s stock appears attractively valued today. Historical earnings growth of more than 28% per annum, which is more than five times the S&P 500 growth rate of 5.2%, depicts exceptional growth. Finally, Teva's current yield of 1.4% is only modestly below the S&P 500's current yield of 1.8%. However, thanks to growth yield (yield on cost) Teva has generated more than twice the total dividends that an equal investment in the S&P 500 would have generated since calendar year 2000. So Teva offers dividend growth and yield as well.
Historically Teva has generated very strong operating results that are far in excess of not only the S&P 500 but also far in excess of their industry peers as well. Over the same historical time frame, Merck & Co. only grew earnings at 3.5% and Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) only grew earnings at 8.1%. Even the exalted Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) was only barely able to squeak into double digits with earnings growth of 10.4%. Therefore, it only seems justified that each of these three branded pharmaceutical behemoths are trading at historically low PE ratios. But Teva's low valuation seems onerous and unjustified given its record of consistent and high growth.
Thesis for Growth
Currently the Value Line investment survey forecasts that Teva will grow earnings per share at 15% or better through the years 2013 to 2015. Zacks Investment Research forecasts projected EPADS (operating earnings before nonrecurring items) growth for the next five years at 15%. The following graph's estimated earnings and return calculator depicts a consensus of 24 analysts reporting to FirstCall with an estimated five-year earnings growth rate of 13%. Therefore, a range of 13% to 15% future earnings growth is at least consistently expected. Most importantly, this is just under one half of their 11-year historical growth rate of 28.1% and lower than their last five years earnings growth rate of 20.4% (see our graphs above - both graphs include one year of forecast not calculated).
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According to a presentation at the Credit Suisse 2010 healthcare conference on November 11, 2010, William Marth, president and CEO, presented the following targets for 2015 and the logic behind them. The following slides from his presentation summarize Teva’s guidance for future growth:
This first slide depicts revenue targets of $31 billion with net income of $6.8 billion, which represent net profitability of 22%.
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This next slide shows that Teva expects a compounded annual growth rate of revenues of 14% per annum for the period 2009 to 2015. This would be consistent with the earnings forecasts presented above, assuming that earnings growth will correlate to revenue growth.
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The next slide illustrates the growth potential of generics throughout the world from 2008 to 2015. Clearly, there is a huge opportunity in generics for Teva to target.
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This slide shows the specific opportunity that Teva has for capturing their share of the growing market for generics.
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This next slide illustrates Teva's expectations for growth in their branded portfolio out to 2015.
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This slide provides more detail on how Teva expects to grow their branded business by utilizing a multifaceted approach. Take special note of the growth expected for biosimilars as this segment of their branded portfolio represents Teva’s strongest growth opportunity according to many analysts.
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This final slide illustrates what Teva calls their loaded branded pipeline. Perhaps their most important candidate is Laquinimod, which would be their oral replacement for Copaxone, their current injectable blockbuster for treating multiple sclerosis.
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Concluding Remarks Regarding Teva's Potential Growth
Teva's acquisition of Barr Pharma in December of 2008 established them as a major player in the generic pharmaceutical business in the U.S. and Europe. Recent smaller acquisitions such as Theramex and the European women's health business of Merck KGaA (MGKAY.PK) continue to diversify Teva's product lineup both geographically and by product. Teva's strong cash war chest and continuing high generation of cash flow provide them the financial flexibility and muscle to continue to make acquisitions, develop new branded products and to legally defend their product real estate.
However, Teva also faces several challenges and risks to their business model. The generic industry is highly fragmented especially in the potentially large markets such as China and India where low labor costs provide these countries a competitive advantage. Furthermore, their branded franchise drug Copaxone, which represents approximately 15% of their sales and as much as 30% of their operating profit, is facing numerous threats and challenges.
According to the analysts’ note dated January 13, 2011, MorningStar analyst Michael Waterhouse states that they believe that “Teva will use acquisitions to pursue its ambitions revenue and profit goals.” And as they always do, MorningStar ends their research reports with duelling Bulls and Bears commentary quoted below courtesy of MorningStar:

Bulls Say

As the largest pharmaceutical manufacturer with vertically integrated operations, Teva has the scale and resources to minimize the entry of low-cost producers.

Teva’s emergence as a hybrid generic/innovative pharmaceutical company allows for consistent stable cash flows with above-average profitability and growth.

Teva is probably one of the few generic firms with the financial resources and capability to enter the nascent biosimilars market.

Given the broad international focus on lowering medical costs, the demand for generics should continue to grow.

Teva’s low tax base leads to higher profitability and increased cash flow.

Bears Say

Copaxone loses U.S. patent protection in 2014. Lack of branded pharmaceutical replacement will hinder Teva’s profitability.

A jury recently upheld Pfizer’s litigation against Teva’s at-risk launch of generic Protonix. If ultimately penalized, Teva could face a substantial liability.

Teva faces considerable competition from low-cost producers in India and China. Aggressive entry pricing could weaken Teva’s dominant market position.

Government-mandated price cuts from austerity measures, particularly in Europe, could offset increases in generic drug utilization.

After 2013, the market values of patent expirations vastly decline, a disturbing fact for an industry dependent on sales of drugs losing patent protection.”

Summary and Conclusions
It is our opinion that at today's prices, Teva possesses the big three: attractive value, attractive growth and a reasonable and potentially growing dividend yield. Furthermore, we feel that the current low valuation unfairly discounts the future potential of this high-quality growth and income story.
We would agree that Teva will most likely not grow at the 20% to 30% rate that it historically has achieved. However, we believe that the company's ability to grow earnings at 15% or better is reasonable and above-average. Therefore, we believe that patient investors have an opportunity to achieve above-average long-term growth and increasing dividend income if purchased at today's historically low valuation. As always, we recommend that a comprehensive research effort be conducted.
Disclosure: I am long TEVA.
Disclaimer: The opinions in this document are for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell the stocks mentioned or to solicit transactions or clients. Past performance of the companies discussed may not continue and the companies may not achieve the earnings growth as predicted. The information in this document is believed to be accurate, but under no circumstances should a person act upon the information contained within. We do not recommend that anyone act upon any investment information without first consulting an investment advisor as to the suitability of such investments for his specific situation.