Actavis delivers big Q1 sales boost, thanks to Forest, Allergan buys

Actavis CEO Brent Saunders

Spring is in the air, and Actavis ($ACT) is starting to see the fruits of last year's M&A. The company reported first-quarter earnings that beat expectations--and sales that took a 59% leap over last year--after acquiring Forest Laboratories and Allergan.

The Dublin-based drugmaker brought in $4.23 billion in net revenue for Q1 compared with $2.66 billion during the same quarter last year, a 59% jump. Brand sales increased to $1.7 billion from $572 million year-over-year, thanks to Forest and Allergan's branded meds.

Actavis can thank its acquisition of Allergan for part of that haul. Allergan's branded drug business contributed $258 million to the company's net revenue, and $113 million of that dropped to the bottom line.

And then there's its deal for Forest Labs, which closed last summer. During last year's first quarter, Forest brought in $1 billion in sales, and its meds delivered for Actavis this time around. The Alzheimer's drug Namenda alone brought in $395 million, up slightly from Forest's $379 million result during the same quarter last year. The antidepressant Viibryd posted $79.6 million, the blood pressure med Bystolic brought in $164 million and bowel drug Linzess roped in $96 million during this year's first quarter.

Actavis aims to double its branded drug revenue this year, and it's looking for an annual growth rate of at least 10%, CEO Brent Saunders said in announcing the Allergan buyout last November. And the company is "right on track" to deliver on those goals, driving "double-digit sales growth" while investing in R&D, Saunders said Monday in a statement.

Actavis may be approaching Big Pharma in size, but it's not keen on following in Big Pharma's footsteps. The company calls itself a "growth pharma," focused on highly efficient SG&A spending, sustainable commercial franchises with an extended IP protection, and a strong commercial footprint, Saunders said earlier this year. And with $23 billion in predicted 2015 sales at stake, the company will need to work hard to deliver on its promise.

"Actavis achieved exceptional operational performance while simultaneously focusing on the completion of the Allergan acquisition and accelerating the integration of our combined company to create a growth Pharma leader," Saunders said. "I am proud of our combined team for maintaining their focus on our customers and delivering tremendous operational results.

- read the release
- get the WSJ story (sub. req.)

Special Reports: Pharma's top 10 M&A deals of 2014 - Actavis/Allergan - Actavis/Forest Laboratories | Top 10 generics makers by 2012 revenue - Actavis

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