) and Teva (TEVA
) to strong buy from hold, and Ivax (IVX
) and Mylan Labs (MYL
) to buy from hold.
Analyst Steve Valiquette says he perceives a trough in the valuation of the four companies. He says an unprecedented $18 billion (annual sales) of existing branded drugs could face generic competition for the first time in 2003, according to his pipeline analysis. Valiquette sees 47% EPS growth for the six broad-based generic drugmakers (including Alopharma, Teva, Ivax, and Mylan) in 2003. He believes most major downward EPS risk for the group is behind it, and sees multiple expansion as 2003 opportunities become more visible. The analyst sees a 30%-40% average return for the overall group over the next 12-18 months.