(By R. Chandrasekaran) Medical instruments maker Baxter International's
) long-term growth prospects are still intact after guiding earnings below Street estimates. There are two primary reasons for arriving at this conclusion.
While the company bucked the trend compared to its rivals with its second quarter earnings number, its continued intention to boost investments should help support its long-term growth. There is also an impression that its core operations will improve in the second half of 2012. This view is strengthened by Baxter's maintaining its midpoint earnings guidance for the full year.
Yesterday, the company announced its earnings and revenues for the second quarter that came in above Street predictions. However, Baxter guided third quarter adjusted earnings below consensus and tightened full year view thus maintaining the midpoint.
Baxter's results and guidance come amidst a challenging healthcare environment that includes, European price cuts, weak utilization in the U.S. and longer regulatory pathways. Therefore, revenue upside was a bit of positive surprise in view of the tough comparisons and constraints on supply. Given the situation for Medical Technology, the latest quarter result was one of the tough earnings seasons since most of the companies in MedTech faces FX worries.
The company was able to generate more revenues from Biosciences and Medical Products during the second quarter though there was no upside in Transfusion Therapies revenue.
Baxter is one of the few MedTech companies that continue to boost investments to drive long-term growth. The company's CEO Robert Parkinson commented, "We will continue to invest in our new product pipeline and seek complementary business development opportunities that will enhance our global presence, expand access to care, and create long-term value for our shareholders."
The top line is expected to accelerate to 6 percent organic growth by 2014 from an estimated 3 percent in 2012 to be fuelled by under-appreciated pipeline. Several headwinds that are impacting 2012 results are likely to abate next year.
Interestingly, Baxter indicated a major capital allocation event to emerge during the second half of 2012. This comment raises the optimism for a possible higher dividend.
Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs analyst David Roman commented, "Management indicated that 2H EPS mix is influenced by FX rate fluctuations and timing of tenders in Europe and Latin America. The next key catalyst is the October 9 analyst meeting, where we expect the company to provide an update on long-term revenue and EPS guidance (we model 5 percent and 10.3 percent respectively), an update on the pipeline and cash return priorities."
The brokerage also maintained its Conviction List Buy with no change to long-term bullish outlook.