AbbVie: An Attractive Spin-Off

| About: AbbVie Inc. (ABBV)

The book, You Can Be A Stock Market Genius, was released way back in 1999 but even after the tech boom and bust, as well as the housing boom and bust, the book's lessons are still relevant. In the book, Joel Greenblatt discussed overlooked investment opportunities such as mergers, restructurings and spin-offs, and others. One stock that fits into the spin-off investment criteria of the book is AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV). The company was just spun off by Abbott (NYSE:ABT) on January 2nd and as is common with other spin-offs, which tend to see their shares dip at first, the stock is down 3% since it opened trading.

For some background, AbbVie is a research-based pharmaceutical company with a broad and sustainable portfolio of market-leading proprietary pharmaceuticals and biologics sold worldwide. AbbVie products are used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, Crohn's disease, HIV, cystic fibrosis complications, low testosterone, thyroid disease, Parkinson's disease, and complications associated with chronic kidney disease, among other indications. AbbVie also has a pipeline of promising new medicines, including more than 20 compounds or indications in Phase II or Phase III development across such important medical specialties as immunology, renal care, Hepatitis C, women's health, oncology, and neuroscience, including multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's diseases.

One of the more promising areas of AbbVie's product pipeline is Levodopa/Carbidopa for Parkinson's disease. According to CFO William Chase, it may be on sale in 2014 and would generate about $1 billion a year in sales. Therapies for Parkinson's have been making some noise recently and an upcoming event next week may provide a boost for AbbVie's outlook for the Levodopa/Carbidopa drug candidate. Impax Laboratories (NASDAQ:IPXL) has a PDUFA date coming up on January 21 for Rytary for the treatment of idiopathic Parkinson's disease. Further relevancy to AbbVie, Rytary, is a capsule formulation of Carbidopa/Levodopa. In addition to the development of branded products, the company develops controlled-release and specialty generics.

Amarantus BioScience (OTCQB:AMBS) is also developing a therapy for Parkinson's as well as other related brain issues such as Traumatic Brain Injuries ((NYSE:TBI)). TBI are a hot topic in the NFL and the company has received some support from NFL players in its quest to find a cure. In October, the company announced the commitment by former Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowl linebacker E.J. Henderson to support the further development of Amarantus' TBI research collaboration with Banyan Biomarkers.

Among AbbVie's other leading experimental drugs is a hepatitis C treatment, a treatment for multiple sclerosis, and a drug for endometriosis. Starting in 2015, the company's four major product prospects could be worth about $4 billion to $6 billion a year in peak sales, according to the CFO. Those therapies should help offset some of the sales the company is expected to lose over the next two years as patents expire.

On the valuation side, it seems like ABBV is attractive as it trades below the forward P/E of its publicly traded comps. Further, analysts expect the company to earn $3.07 per share in FY13 for a forward P/E of 11. ABBV's comps include Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY), Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) and Bristol Myers Squibb Company (NYSE:BMY). LLY is trading at a forward P/E of 14. AMGN is trading at a forward P/E of 12.5. BMY is trading at a forward P/E of 18.5.

Recent analyst commentary on the stock has been positive. BMO Capital Markets said that the firm would be opportunistic buyers of ABBV in the low- to mid-$30s range. The firm further noted that the dividend yield (4.6%) should support the stock at these levels.

To conclude, although ABBV has some drugs coming off patent over the next couple of years, ABBV is in an attractive position with the history of spin-offs outperforming the market, its product pipeline, and attractive valuation position. A dividend yield of 4.7% will keep cash flow coming to shareholders while they wait for share price appreciation.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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