AstraZeneca reports Q4 results: ‘we’re facing challenges in China’

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Shares of AstraZeneca plc (NASDAQ: AZN) are up 3.5% this morning on a significant YoY increase in Q4 revenue. Charges related to the Alexion acquisition, however, pushed it into a quarterly loss.

AstraZeneca’s Q4 results

AstraZeneca reported $347 million in net loss versus the year-ago figure of $1.01 billion in net profit, as per the earnings press release. Its revenue, though, jumped from last year’s $7.41 billion to $12.01 billion. On a per-share basis, the British multinational lost 22 cents in Q4.

The biotech firm valued quarterly sales of its COVID-19 vaccine at $1.87 billion but warned of a slowdown in 2022. AstraZeneca, however, expects sales of Evusheld (monoclonal-antibody combination) to offset this decline. On CNBC’s “Worldwide Exchange”, CEO Pascal Soriot said:

Evusheld is a unique product for people who are immunocompromised and don’t respond to vaccines. We’ve been accumulating orders for it from many countries around the world and there’s more to come.

CEO Soriot’s outlook moving forward

For fiscal 2022, AstraZeneca forecasts a more than 15% annualised growth in revenue and over 25% increase in core EPS. The pharmaceutical company is increasingly making its COVID shot, Vaxzeviria, a for-profit product in various markets. The chief executive added:

We’re in active discussion with the U.S. government for additional antibody drug supply. We’re also in discussion with the U.S. FDA to file for our vaccine Vaxzeviria.

AstraZeneca expects another $2.10 billion in post-acquisition restructuring costs. Another headwind is the rising cost pressure in China – an important market for the pharmaceutical giant. CEO Soriot noted:

We’re facing challenges in China like the entire industry. The Chinese market is going through a transition but the good news is that the government is supporting introduction of new innovative products. That’s what we’re doing. We have a strong line-up if new products and are progressing these very fast in China.

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