Teva hikes dividend as earnings fall short

Teva CEO Jeremy Levin

If Teva Pharmaceutical Industries ($TEVA) investors are ticked off about its shortfall in fourth-quarter earnings, they might be appeased by its 15% dividend hike. No doubt that's the intent. CEO Jeremy Levin seems to be telling his impatient shareholders to hold their horses.

Levin took over the helm at Teva last year, at a time when the company's stock was lagging and growth threatened by the impending loss of exclusivity on its leading drug, the multiple sclerosis treatment Copaxone. As Reuters points out, much of the drugmaker's recent growth has come via acquisition, culminating with the 2011 buyout of Cephalon for $6.5 billion.

So, investors have been looking to Levin for comfort--and for ideas. When he unveiled a big reorganization plan late last year, shareholders were less than impressed. But Levin remains steadfast, believing that new sources of revenue--including emerging markets, over-the-counter products, and new drug formulations--can deliver. His cost-cutting plans are aimed at saving $2 billion a year.

"Our efforts over the past year clearly demonstrate Teva's ability and commitment to transform the company," Levin said in announcing Teva's results. "Our generic franchise remains the core of our business. We launched 23 generic products in the U.S. in 2012 and anticipate a similar number of launches in 2013."

- see the Reuters news