Generic Approved For Key Biovail Drug

16 Dec

As mentioned in recent posts, Biovail (BVF) is in the process of restructuring itself on the eve of the introduction of generic competition to its key product. The company’s worst fears were realized when Thursday afternoon a decision was made to allow generic Wellbutrin XL, which is 41% of Biovail’s sales, on the market. The company was expecting this generic competition to come to market January 1st, so now its just going to come a little earlier than expected. This eliminates for investors the possibility of earnings surprises in the event the generic was not approved by that date.

Make no mistake; this is a big setback for the company, but one that the market was clearly expecting, judging by today’s mere 2.3% share price retreat in reaction to the news. The company is dealing with this – reducing their fixed cost based by eliminating their U.S. workforce and buying in all of their debt. While the share price has come up quite a bit to reflect renewed confidence in the company’s future, at current levels there doesn’t seem to be a margin of safety in the shares. This makes me wary of new investments at this point. But with expected dividends totaling $2.00 in 2007, the total return assuming no share price movement is a little under 10%, a satisfactory return until new products again boost Biovail’s revenues and reinvigorate growth.

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