Deerfield, Ill.-based Baxter said its bottom line surged 192.3% to $953 million, or $1.74 per share, on sales growth of 3.5% to $4.47 billion for the 3 months ended Dec. 31, 2014. Adjusted to exclude 1-time items, earnings per share were $1.36, 3¢ ahead of Wall Street’s consensus.
Full-year profits rose 24.1% to $2.50 billion, or $4.56 per share, on sales growth of 11.4% to $16.67 billion. Adjusted EPS were $5.17, up 6.4% compared with 2013.
”Throughout 2014, we executed on our financial and strategic priorities while positioning both companies for sustained success with investments to enhance our commercial, operational and scientific capabilities,” chairman & CEO Robert Parkinson Jr. said in prepared remarks. ”As we chart distinct and unique paths forward as separate global healthcare leaders, we look forward to unlocking value for our shareholders, partners, employees, and the patients and healthcare providers we serve.”
Baxter said it expects to report 1st-quarter adjusted EPS of 85¢ to 90¢ on constant-currency sales growth of 2% to 3%, but cautioned that the strong dollar could mean a de facto sales decline of 3% to 4%.
Leerink Partners analyst Danielle Antalffy said Baxter is playing it safe with the Q1 outlook.
"We believe BAX headwinds over the next 12 months are well-recognized, and the guidance is likely to prove conservative. And we do see improving shareholder returns with the company’s upcoming split into 2 – Baxalta for biopharma and Baxter for medical devices – expected to be completed in mid-2015," Antalffy wrote in a note to investors, maintaining Leerink’s "outperform" rating and boosting the price target to $83.
BAX shares have treaded water since the company’s Jan. 29 earnings release. The stock was down 0.1% from its Jan. 28 close in mid-morning trading today, at $70.21 per share, for a .05% decline on the day.