Alcon Inc. (NYSE:ACL) posted double-digit sales and earnings increases during the second quarter, as revenues rose 12.5 percent and profits rose 15.1 percent.
The Huenenberg, Switzerland-based ophthalmic devices giant reported net earnings of $670 million, or $2.21 per diluted share, on sales of $1.89 billion for the three months ended June 30. That compares with net earnings of $582 million, or $1.94 per diluted share, on sales of $1.68 billion during the same period last year.
The positive results prompted Alcon’s independent director committee to push Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS) to up its $28.1 billion bid for a majority stake in the company. Citing Alcon’s year-over-year earnings per share growth of 14.4 percent — which beat Wall Street estimates by 9.4 percent — committee chairman Thomas Plaskett said "Novartis must deliver appropriate value" for the company.
The Novartis deal hinges on it acquiring 77 percent of Alcon from Nestlé S.A. (EUREX:NESN.EX) before executing an all-share direct merger with Alcon for the remaining stake. The swap offer, for 2.8 Novartis shares for each Alcon share, is valued at $138 per share, a roughly 24 percent discount from the $181.71 Nestlé’s getting. It’s also 11.3 percent less than the $155.53 Alcon shares were fetching in mid-morning trading today and a 16 percent discount on Alcon shares the day before the Novartis offer.
Alcon further bolstered its case by raising its full-year earnings guidance to $7.45 to $7.62 per share, up from $7.30 to $7.55 per share.