Analyst Matthew Geller says the company raised its operating earnings guidance to 47 cents to 51 cents for the first quarter, and to $1.72 to $1.85 for 2003. He says Biogen now sees $320 million in first quarter revenues, citing strong sales of Multiple Sclerosis treatment Avonex, and higher-than-expected royalty revenues.
However, after talking with management, Geller thinks the main reason for the new guidance is lower-than-expected selling, general, and administrative expenses due to layoffs in Europe that were tied to a delay in the approval of Amevive, as well as sales and administrative efficiencies within Biogen.
In line with the new guidance, Geller raised his 38 cents first quarter operating earnings per share from 48 cents, and upped the $1.66 2003 estimate to $1.81. However, he is maintaining his sector underperform rating.