Analysts Downgrade Shire

Morningstar equity analysts are lowering Shire's fair value estimate to account for the impact of the acquisition of Baxalta. Through several acquisitions, Shire has transformed

Stefan Quenneville, CFA 15 February, 2016 | 10:16AM
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Following fourth-quarter results that were better than our expectations, Morningstar equity analysts are lowering Shire's (SHP) fair value estimate to $220 per ADR from $235 to account for the impact of the acquisition of Baxalta, which is expected to close by midyear.

We are maintaining our narrow moat, positive trend ratings as we view the deal as strategically attractive given the rare disease focus of both companies and potential tax synergies from Shire’s Irish tax domicile. However, given the full price paid for Baxalta and the midterm risks to the key hemophilia franchise from potential disruptive technologies from Roche and Alnylam, we remain cautious of the overall value creation for Shire.

Nevertheless, given the strong sell-off in Shire’s shares since the deal was proposed, in the context of the broader sector decline, we view the company as undervalued at current prices.

In the quarter, revenue increased 8% to $1.62 billion, as strong growth from its ADHD/BED drug Vyvanse and its HAE treatment Firazyr and solid results from gastrointestinal drug Lialda offset the impacts of the drug Intuniv becoming generic and currency headwinds. Non-GAAP earnings increased 13% to $2.97 per ADR as margins improved due to lower R&D costs and tighter SG&A spending during the quarter. Management’s guidance for 2016, excluding Baxalta, is for product sales to increase by 11%-14%, which is consistent with our 12.5% growth estimate.

Investment Thesis

Through several acquisitions, Shire has transformed from a neurology-focused specialty pharma to a more diversified firm with increasing exposure to biologics manufacturing and rare diseases. We think recent product launches, cost-cutting efforts, and the ViroPharma and NPS Pharma acquisitions will allow Shire to produce high-single-digit top-line growth and double-digit earnings growth during the next five years.

The intellectual property underlying Shire's specialty pharmaceutical business and its rare disease business form the basis of its narrow moat. The company is best known for its ADHD franchises, which make up about 30% of its revenue. However, through multiple acquisitions and in-house development, the company has built up a diverse portfolio of both small molecule and biologic products focused generally on niche markets, about 40% of revenues come from rare diseases. This diversity allows the company to better withstand specific product risks, while utilising a specialist-focused salesforces to penetrate markets, keep operating expenses down, and produce strong operating margins.

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Stefan Quenneville, CFA  is an equity analyst with Morningstar.

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