Shire share price climbs higher on pledge to double sales by 2020

Peter Spence
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Shire is the latest high profile target in the pharma sector (Source: Getty)

After knocking back offers from US-based pharma giant AbbVie, Shire's management has put forward the case for it to stay independent.

In a statement, Shire says that it now "expects to deliver double-digit compound annual product sales growth from its current portfolio".

It also forecasts that it will "more than double its 2013 annual product sales to $10bn by 2020."

Last Friday AbbVie confirmed that three offers for Shire had been rejected. Shire is an attractive target for AbbVie, because it could likely benefit from Shire’s favourable tax position and Irish domicile.

S&P Equity Research maintains a "strong buy" recommendation on Shire in light of what analyst Carl Short says is "an excellent growth record over the last five years". Mick Cooper, analyst at Edison Investment Research, calls Shire's defence "credible [and] robust" given the company's current strong growth.

Shire could also benefit from an improvement in operating margins, stemming from its dominance in niche markets, which Edison suggests should make those targets achievable. Short points to attractive positioning in rare diseases and specialty markets, with drugs including Cinryze and Firazyr, used in the treatment of hereditary angioedema.

Shortly after Shire released its statement, AbbVie raised its own profit guidance for this year. The Chicago-based company now expects to see full-year diluted earnings-per-share of $3.06 to $3.16 on an adjusted basis, an increase of $0.06 per share.

AbbVie declared last week that its third and final proposal represented an indicative offer of £46.26 for each Shire share. Shire shares are currently trading at around £43.60, down around 0.2 per cent today, marginally better than the overall movement of the FTSE 100.

Shire shares against the FTSE 100 (Source: Google Finance)

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