Merck CEO on Q4 results: ‘all of our growth drivers are delivering’

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Merck & Co Inc (NYSE: MRK) on Thursday said its Q4 profit and revenue topped Wall Street estimates. Shares still fell nearly 2.0% on slightly weaker-than-expected guidance for full-year earnings.

Notable figures in the earnings report

Merck reported $3.820 billion in net income ($1.51 per share), an increase from last year’s $2.617 billion ($1.03 per share). On an adjusted basis, the American multinational raked up $1.80 in EPS, as per the earnings press release.

Its sales at $13.521 billion were up 24% YoY. According to FactSet, experts had forecast $1.53 of adjusted EPS on $13.156 billion in revenue. This morning on CNBC’s “Squawk Box”, CEO Robert Davis said:

2021 was a challenging year but we still grew 17% in sales, so the business delivered on continued strength of our oncology portfolio led by Keytruda and our vaccines business led by Gardasil. Our animal health business continues to deliver too. So, across the board, all of our growth drivers are delivering.

Keytruda sales came in slightly below expectations on weakness in “international” that CEO Davis shrugged off as related to timing.

Guidance for the full financial year

For fiscal 2022, Merck forecasts $56.1 billion to $57.6 billion in sales on adjusted per-share earnings between $7.12 and $7.27. This compares to the FactSet consensus of $56.7 billion in sales on $7.30 of adjusted EPS.

Molnupiravir – Merck’s oral COVID-19 antiviral that is effective against Omicron brought in $952 million in sales this quarter and is expected to generate $5.0 billion to $6.0 billion in fiscal 2022. CEO Davis added:

We now have agreements for Molnupiravir with over 30 countries. We delivered product now to over 25 countries. We delivered 1.4 million courses in the last couple weeks of December after receiving EUA in the U.S. We’re on track to deliver 3.1 million courses in the U.S. in the next few days and on pace for about 4 million courses delivered globally.

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