Teva sets 2015 sales forecast up to $1B lower than analysts expected

Don't be surprised if Teva's ($TEVA) revenue numbers don't meet analysts' expectations in 2015. According to the company's forecasts, generic competition to top-seller Copaxone and foreign currency hits will take their toll on Teva's top line next year.

The generics giant forecast net revenues of $19 billion to $19.4 billion for the year, below the $20.1 billion analysts predicted, Reuters notes. That's factoring in two generic Copaxone competitors--from a Novartis' ($NVS) Sandoz and Momenta Pharmaceuticals team, and a Mylan ($MYL) and Natco Pharma partnership--that Teva assumes will launch in September. If those rivals hit the MS star early, it could cut into operating income by $30 million to $50 million per month, said.

Copaxone won't be Teva's only drug suffering from competition, either. Its generic version of AstraZeneca's ($AZN) Pulmicort will face additional challengers starting in the first half of the year, the Israeli company said. That competition will drag revenues down by $400 million to $500 million. On top of that, it's bracing for a $700 million hit from foreign exchange rate fluctuations compared with 2014, it said.

Teva CEO Erez Vigodman

But there are bright spots. Teva expects profitability in its core generics business--which CEO Erez Vigodman has said he wants to refocus on--to grow next year as the company moves away from less profitable markets and continues cutting costs. The generic unit should bring in between $9.1 billion and $9.5 billion, Teva figures.

"Generics remain at the heart of our business," Vigodman said in a statement.

While that may be true, the company will still be going hard in specialty drugs. It anticipates four specialty product approvals and 5 submissions next year "which we believe will improve treatment options for patients and add value for all of our stakeholders," Vigodman said.

And the long-acting version of Copaxone--under patent till 2030--has so far posted a conversion rate that's blown some analysts away. Teva's still aiming for a 65% conversion in the U.S., which would ward off much of the generics threat. It's preparing to take the drug overseas, too. The long-acting formula will roll out in the EU and other countries starting in 2015's first quarter, Teva said.

- read Teva's release
- see Reuters' take

Special Reports: Top 10 Generics Makers by 2012 Revenue - Teva | Top 10 Drug Patent Losses of 2014 - Copaxone