Flush from Barr, Teva still scouts deals

Teva is shifting into high gear now that it's absorbing Barr Pharmaceuticals, which it bought late last year. CFO Eyal Desheh told Reuters that Teva is in the market for new acquisitions--and it's accelerating new-product launches quarter to quarter this year. "The fourth quarter is supposed to be the most active in new launches," Desheh told the news service, "and in between we expect improvement from one quarter to the next."

Indeed, the company posted better-than-expected earnings for the first quarter, despite $200 million worth of negative effects from the strong dollar. Net income tripled to $451 million; excluding items, profits rose to $634 million. With the integration of Barr operations proceeding apace, Teva expects to squeeze more value from the acquisition than it had thought. CEO Shlomo Yanai said the strong first-quarter performance "makes us very optimistic about the remainder of 2009."

One likely place to look for Teva's next acquisition is Germany, Yanai said. "Germany is undergoing a very rapid transition in the pharmaceutical market and we have to be very cautious about how we're playing our role there," Yanai said (as quoted by Bloomberg). "It's about the right opportunity and the right timing to do the strategic move." With acquisition targets' prices coming down--and more than $2.5 billion in cash on hand--Teva "will be there" for the right deal, he said.

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