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Bank Hapoalim estimates $87 million Q4 profit for Teva

Top line increased just 7.4% from comparable quarter last year, but bottom line greatly improved

Bank Hapoalim today published its forecast for giant generic drug manufacturer Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:TEVA), due to release its Q4 2001 results Thursday.

Analyst Rakefet Levison predicts the quarterly reports will be better than Q4 2000 results, though top line growth of 7.4% to $557 million may be lower compared with previous quarters, due to the small number of FDA approvals received last quarter.

Levison believes several factors could bear positively on Teva's results. First are the new generic products that received FDA approval since Q4 2000, specifically sales of the Nabumetone, expected to total $46 million in Q4 2001. Other positive factors are the continued growth of the U.S. drug market, the rise of the euro-dollar exchange rate, which boosts the company's revenues in Europe, and the growing sales of Teva's proprietary multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone.

Levison estimates Teva will post a Q4 net profit of $87 million, 50% higher than its profit in the same quarter in 2000. This profit reflects earnings of 62 cents per share, up 43% from EPS in the same quarter last year. The company, having released its Q3 results, feels at ease with earnings projections of 60 cents per share.

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The main causes for an improved bottom line for Teva will be the high profitability of Copaxone and the new products, particularly Nabumetone; reduced financing costs following the nearly-zero interest bond issue; production streamlining in the company's plants, the sharp shekel devaluation which thins Teva's shekel expenses, and expectations of an additional $3.7 million payment from marketing partner Aventis, which will reduce R&D expenses.