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Gilead Sciences Posts Strong Results; Raises Guidance

GILD Foster City, California-based Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD – $110.96) announced third quarter revenue of $8.3 billion compared to $6.0 billion in the third period of 2014. The Street was anticipating sales of $7.8 billion. Adjusted earnings were $4.8 billion equal to $3.22 per share compared to $3.0 billion or $1.84 per share a year ago, a 75% pop. Consensus estimates were for earnings per share of $2.87. Product sales in the U.S. were $5.6 billion, compared to $4.2 billion for the third quarter of 2014, and in Europe $1.7 billion vs $1.4 billion. Sales in other international locations increased to $1.0 billion compared to $327 million in the third quarter of 2014, primarily as a result of the launch of hepatitis-C/HCV products in Japan. The company also raised its full-year 2015 revenue outlook to a range of $30 billion to $31 billion versus $29 – $30 billion announced in July, the third upward revision this year. If GILD can earn an estimated $2.84 in the fourth quarter, full year earnings can finish at $12.15 per share, valuing the shares at less than 10 times. It’s difficult to bet against a company that can generate so much free cash flow because it can do so much with it. The biotechnology company had over $8.6 billion in cash as of June 30. Chief among management’s options, unlike smaller companies that are not as well-funded, is to acquire drug companies that have products with strong commercial potential, which Gilead has been doing for some time. Additional sales generated from such a strategy will help offset potential pricing declines from lead hepatitis drugs. Too, Gilead has many other very profitable therapies that are being used to combat HIV/AIDS and cancer. The recent initiation of a $1.72 annual dividend, yielding 1.6%, adds icing to the cake.


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