AbbVie, which trades at price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 18.2 times, is cheap compared to the industry average of over 26 times, and 21 times for the S&P 500.
Its top-selling drugs like Humira rake in billions in sales and add to the bottom line. The $105 billion company offers double-digit earnings growth and solid upside. Additionally, its nearly 4% dividend yield is ideal for those happy with annual paychecks.
AbbVie, which was spun off from Abbott (ABT) - Get Report a few years ago, is a research-focused drug maker that makes most of its money from Humira and Imbruvica. Since 2003, when it was approved, Humira has been the second biggest selling prescription drug after Pfizer's (PFE) - Get Report Lipitor.
There are, however, concerns about the impact of generic competition affecting Humira's sales. But AbbVie has an impressive pipeline of drugs. The company has 12 late-stage clinical trials presently underway and an additional 21 drugs in mid-stage development. Many of these are believed to have billion-dollar potential.
Analysts have projected five-year earnings per share (EPS) growth for the stock. AbbVie is expected to offer over 14% annual EPS growth during this period, more than biotech peers such as Gilead (GILD) - Get Report , Biogen (BIIB) - Get Report , and Amgen (AMGN) - Get Report .
Faster growth should come at a reasonable price so that investors can position themselves for the stock's upside. AbbVie has a price-to-earnings growth (PEG) ratio of 0.82. This is much cheaper than Bristol-Myers Squibb's (BMY) - Get Report 1.38 and Alexion Pharmaceuticals' (ALXN) - Get Report 1.22.
AbbVie shares are up just 5.5% so far this year. The stock is expected to deliver solid gains over the next 12 to 18 months.
However, you won't have to wait that long to start receiving AbbVie's $2.56 per share annualized dividend. The company has a solid track record of hiking payouts. It has grown dividends by over 40% since 2013. And the company still pays less than 47% of its profits as dividends, which shows that there is scope to earn bigger dividends in future.
AbbVie is one of few excellent investment opportunities in the healthcare space with double-digit earnings growth, a reasonable price, and a safe dividend yield. Even the likes of Pfizer, Novartis (NVS) - Get Report , Sanofi (SNY) - Get Report , Merck (MRK) - Get Report , and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) - Get Report can't boast of this.
With over $6 billion in cash, AbbVie can swiftly take advantage of any potential Merger & Acquisition situations that can boost its already fantastic growth prospects. As long as the world faces today's health issues that range from life-threatening illnesses to chronic conditions, companies like AbbVie will be extremely dependable businesses to own.
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The author is an independent contributor who at the time of publication owned none of the stocks mentioned.