Abbott (ABT) is one of the movers and shakers in America's mainstream drug manufacturing industry. Nested on a market cap of $97 billion, it is submerged in highly competitive waters. It has to compete with aggressive competitors like Pfizer (PFE) and Merck (MRK). The latter, however, forms the inner circle of core competitors and extends more threat. Its $119 billion market cap gives it the financial edge over a smaller Abbott. All the same, there is one key competitor forever lurking in the shadows. This is the competitor that arguably dominates the space: Roche Holding (RHHBF.PK). Its $155 billion market cap gleans $10 in net income. This incredibly solid financial footing gives it the leverage to widen the gap and maintain top position.
I believe, however, that Abbott (being the weakest financially) is the stock to buy. The critical outlook is that my standpoint is biased and lacks reasonable footing. In as much as this viewpoint bears a shred of logical sense, it tends to lean on one side: financial capabilities. I do acknowledge that most of Abbott's competitors exhibit favorable financial qualities; nonetheless, Abbott parades its ability to grow. This is clearly evident in its 4.6% quarterly revenue growth - coming second to none except Sanofi (SNY), which enjoys an unmatched 9.1%. All in all, my inclination toward Abbott is primarily centered on the fact that it extends the highest earnings per share ($3.24) among its peers.
News on Abbott's split strategy has gone viral and almost every investment website on the internet is rambling about the split. Although the news came in late last year, October to be precise, it seems as if its reeling effects are already starting to kick in. According to James Shell, the author of the blog, the split reflects the management's dissatisfaction with regards to the stock price. He goes on to state that the management feels that the stock price fails to highlight the true value of Abbott. Shell further accents that two separate units will be able to secure individual nesting in the market space and bring in better profits. In my opinion, I believe that Shell's standpoint is but a representation of the general outlook. Investors are bullish about the split strategy. Late last year, Chief executive officer Miles White commented that the two units would pass out a clearer message for investors. With a split and spin-off, the stakes are higher as each unit will have the drive to pursue its primary goals.
The $11.9 billion that Nestle (NSRGY.PK) forked out in the Pfizer deal has also been making rounds in the headlines. This high priority deal ultimately developed into a run down between Nestle and Danone (DANOY. PK). In a last ditch attempt, Nestle raised its bid and managed to beat Danone's $11 billion. The effect of this news has been felt throughout the industry as both big wigs are expected to swell. Investors on the other hand are welling with prospects. Pfizer, which apparently happens to be the world's biggest drug maker, has caught the attention of many investors. By adding $12 billion into its portfolio, it has fortified confidence levels in shareholders and prospective investors. To further cement the high confidence levels, it has revealed its plans to drive the money into share buybacks. In my opinion this move is tactful and strategic. Similarly, the deal has shifted attention from smaller competitors like Abbott. In as much as this sounds ironical, the shifted attention involuntarily acts in the best interests of Abbott. Why is this so? Abbott needs the peace of mind to effectively make a breakthrough in its split strategy. Attention is sometimes known to stir up controversy and unnecessary hype. Such distractions can deter progress and generate a lot of confusion within. My bet is that Abbott is doubling its efforts at such a time when most of the attention has shifted to Nestle and Pfizer.
Abbott is a good choice for a long-term investor with an eye for success. Given its financial powerhouse, it is an over performer. Similarly, its fundamentals are impressive and domineering.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.