Log in
Forgot password ?
Become a member for free
Sign up
Sign up
New member
Sign up for FREE
New customer
Discover our services
Dynamic quotes 


SummaryMost relevantAll NewsAnalyst Reco.Other languagesPress ReleasesOfficial PublicationsSector newsMarketScreener Strategies

No quick fix seen for Novartis's troubled Alcon unit

01/11/2016 | 07:56am EDT
The logo of Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis is seen on its headquarters building in Basel

ZURICH (Reuters) - Introduced a decade ago, glaucoma drug Travatan Z has been a powerful driver behind the success of Novartis's (>> Novartis AG) Alcon eye care business, its second biggest division behind the main pharmaceuticals business.

ZURICH (Reuters) - Introduced a decade ago, glaucoma drug Travatan Z has been a powerful driver behind the success of Novartis's (>> Novartis AG) Alcon eye care business, its second biggest division behind the main pharmaceuticals business.

But the drug's patent expiration last month, the latest in a wave of expiries that have left Alcon vulnerable to generics, brings into sharp focus the unit's problems, for which analysts say there is no obvious quick fix.

Having taken its first stake in Alcon eight years ago after it was floated by former-owner Nestle, Novartis now acknowledges the opthalmic division has become its problem child, with too many old products and too little innovation.

Sales have been in decline since 2014 at Alcon, which the Swiss drugmaker completed buying five years ago for nearly $51 billion (35 billion pounds), slipping 12 percent in the third quarter last year to just $2.35 billion francs.

Novartis's total sales in the quarter fell 6 percent to $12.27 billion.

The list of travails is long including laggardly surgical equipment sales, especially in emerging markets like Asia, slumping revenue from intraocular lens (IOL) implants for cataract sufferers and an underperforming over-the-counter contact lens solutions business which could be on the auction block, analysts said.

A management reshuffle has failed to staunch a chronic quarter-on-quarter revenue slide.

Now Novartis Chief Executive Officer Joe Jimenez has promised an innovation-heavy "growth acceleration programme" for Alcon which is due to be unveiled on Jan. 27 alongside 2015 results.

Analysts said Jimenez's crisis response is necessary, but tardy: New product development takes years, meaning Alcon may bump along for the foreseeable future.

"I doubt it will be a quick fix," said Alistair Campbell, a London-based Berenberg analyst.

"They know they have lagged behind on innovation in both the intraocular lens and drug segments but fixing both will not happen overnight."

Revenues started to fall in the fourth quarter of 2014 and since last summer Alcon Global Head Jeff George has replaced two thirds of his top managers.

"We've seen a significant slowdown in emerging markets, particularly in Asia, which has led to a corresponding drop in our surgical equipment sales," George said last year.

"We've also seen increasing competitive pricing pressure in our IOL business. The third factor ... is the increasing generic pressure that we've had in our U.S. pharma business."

In addition to Travatan Z, Patanese, one of Alcon's allergy drugs, has gone off patent, while Patanol and Pataday also face imminent generic competition, he said.

But a costly turnaround programme is hardly timely, given Novartis's overall revenue could come under pressure with the patent expiry on its blood cancer drug Glivec just as it is stepping up marketing for its new heart-attack drug Entresto.

Disposal of the contact lens solutions businesses, which analysts say ranks second behind Johnson & Johnson (>> Johnson & Johnson), could also be in the offing.

"There are risks of a ramp-up in research and development and marketing spending," said Deutsche Bank analyst Tim Race. "However, they might just say we are selling parts of the business and not ramp costs up as much as they might otherwise have to."

Jimenez has left that option open, saying he is amenable to "peeling off underperforming parts of Alcon." For now, he is committed to Alcon, though his patience is not infinite.

"You have an on-trend business with an ageing population," Jimenez told analysts in October. "If it doesn't improve, then we've got a different conversation."

(Editing by Greg Mahlich)

By John Miller

Stocks treated in this article : Johnson & Johnson, Novartis AG

ę Reuters 2016
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ALCON INC. -0.31% 63.96 Delayed Quote.8.70%
DEERE & COMPANY -0.55% 353.52 Delayed Quote.31.83%
JOHNSON & JOHNSON 0.46% 172.66 Delayed Quote.9.71%
NOVARTIS AG -0.28% 83.28 Delayed Quote.-0.17%
SWISS RE LTD -0.07% 83.68 Delayed Quote.0.48%
All news about JOHNSON & JOHNSON
02:50pJOHNSON & JOHNSON : to Participate in the Virtual Wells Fargo Healthcare Confere..
11:26aJOHNSON & JOHNSON : Single-Shot COVID-19 Vaccinations to Resume in the U.S. for ..
06:06aJOHNSON & JOHNSON : Mozambique to Vaccinate 20 Per Cent of Its Target By Septemb..
07/26ASPEN PHARMACARE : To Send First Batch Of Johnson & Johnson Jab To South Africa ..
07/23Relaxed Border Restrictions For U.S. Travelers Coming August 9, 2021
07/23GLOBAL MARKETS LIVE : Intel, HoneyWell, American Express, Visa, Twitter...
07/23JOHNSON & JOHNSON : UBS Adjusts Johnson & Johnson's Price Target to $183 From $1..
07/23ASTRAZENECA : EU On Track To Donate 200 Million COVID-19 Vaccine Doses In 2021
07/22JOHNSON & JOHNSON : Opioid-ravaged West Virginia looks to $26B deal for help
07/22JOHNSON & JOHNSON : In opioid-ravaged WVa, potential deal raises hopes for help
More news
Financials (USD)
Sales 2021 94 447 M - -
Net income 2021 22 808 M - -
Net Debt 2021 871 M - -
P/E ratio 2021 20,3x
Yield 2021 2,39%
Capitalization 455 B 455 B -
EV / Sales 2021 4,82x
EV / Sales 2022 4,61x
Nbr of Employees 134 500
Free-Float 84,3%
Duration : Period :
Johnson & Johnson Technical Analysis Chart | JNJ | US4781601046 | MarketScreener
Technical analysis trends JOHNSON & JOHNSON
Short TermMid-TermLong Term
Income Statement Evolution
Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 21
Last Close Price 172,66 $
Average target price 184,35 $
Spread / Average Target 6,77%
EPS Revisions
Managers and Directors
Alex Gorsky Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Joseph J. Wolk Chief Financial Officer & Executive Vice President
Paulus Stoffels Chief Scientific Officer
James D. Swanson Global Chief Information Officer & Executive VP
Charles O. Prince Independent Director
Sector and Competitors
1st jan.Capi. (M$)
JOHNSON & JOHNSON9.71%452 602
ROCHE HOLDING AG11.50%327 852
PFIZER, INC.13.58%234 040
NOVARTIS AG-0.17%221 954
ABBVIE INC.9.93%208 043