"Sentiment has been negative since April 2010. We obviously don’t like it, but our job as management is to continue to grow the company's business, and focus on managing the company's business - revenue, expenditure, and strategy - and not to manage the share price," Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (Nasdaq: TEVA; TASE: TEVA) CFO Eyal Desheh said in response to questions at an Oppenheimer Israel conference about Teva's poor share performance. Teva's share price has fallen 37% on Nasdaq from its April 2010 peak.
Teva's new president and CEO Dr. Jeremy Levin took up his post last week. Today, Desheh said, "Teva is a different Teva. The CEO has been given the opportunity to study the company in depth, and we'll see the changes later. Teva is currently taking a thorough review of its forecasts and work plans. We're beginning our strategic assessment. The CEO has been learning about the company for three months, and he needs time to make decisions from the CEO's chair and not from the period of the handover."
Last week, Teva published its financial report for the first quarter of 2012, but Levin declined to offer guidance for 2012, saying that he was still learning about the company and had not yet formulated a new strategy. The share price fell sharply in response, but analysts believe that he will announce Teva's guidance and new strategy in a few weeks. Investors will soon get an answer to one of the most burning current issues at Teva: a US federal court will rule whether the company's patents for Copaxone remain valid until 2014-15, as it contends.
"We're waiting for the judge's decision," said Desheh. "A snapshot of the multiple sclerosis treatment market shows that Copaxone's market share is stable, and that this is a good product with some known safety limitations. It is necessary to understand that multiple sclerosis is a very complex disease. Copaxone acts better than the veteran products on the market."
As for Teva's weak first quarter sales in Europe, Desheh said, "Teva is well diversified in European countries, but the same thing is happening in all of them - Europe has been in crisis for the past 18 months. Despite this, our sales grew at the expense of other companies. When it rains, everyone gets wet, but I believe that our umbrella is bigger than that of other companies. Europe, too, will ultimately emerge from the crisis. It's necessary to look ahead and I believe that the future looks good. We launched seven new products during the last quarter, and we plan to launch 30 more this year."
Teva's share price fell 2% on the TASE today to NIS 158.70, after falling 0.6% on Nasdaq on Friday to $41.81, giving a market cap of $36.5 billion.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 13, 2012
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