If mastering the art of investing boiled down to just crunching the numbers, I think picking up a few shares in speciality pharmaceuticals company Indivior (LSE: INDV) would be a ‘no-brainer’, to use the vernacular.
Indeed, the firm has a strong showing on quality and value metrics, and today’s full-year results update demonstrated further progress, with revenue 3% higher than a year ago and adjusted earnings per share at constant currency rates rising 5%. There’s a healthy net cash pile on the balance sheet of around $376m, up from $131m at the end of 2016, which is further evidence of the firm’s good trading. Chief executive Shaun Thaxter was optimistic about the outlook, saying in the report: “We face the future with enthusiasm and we are guiding to another year of top- and bottom-line growth in 2018.”
Be aware of the risks
However, investing in Indivior isn’t the ‘no-brainer’ that the quantitative information may suggest. There are significant risks that could end up blowing the business model out of the water, and a glance at the company’s risk statement is a sobering experience. The chief risk revolves around the fact that Indivior earns most of its income from one group of products for the treatment of opioid use disorder, branded with names such as Suboxone, and Sublocade in its various forms.
The firm has been trading well in the US where demand for addiction treatments is strong. But generic competition constantly threatens the enterprise, and there’s a depressingly long list of investigative and anti-trust litigation proceedings being undertaken against the company and by Indivior against competitors. The directors have raised the provision for investigative and antitrust litigation matters to $438m – ouch!
Diversification on the way
Yet there’s progress with product diversification. A product for the treatment of schizophrenia is set to launch at the end of 2018, and treatments for alcohol and stimulant use disorders are in the early stages of development. The stock dropped around 9% this morning, and while being aware of the risks, I’d be tempted to invest.
Meanwhile, global information and analytics provider Relx (LSE: REL) strikes me as a more-straightforward investment proposition and today’s full-year figures show continuing trading progress. Underlying revenue grew 4% during 2017 compared to the year before and constant currency adjusted earnings per share lifted 7%. The directors set the full-year dividend 10% higher, to top off what has been a great run for investors.
At today’s share price close to 1,441p, the stock has risen just over 100% over the past five years and the dividend is up more than 60% over that time. That’s a satisfactory investment outcome to me, but the stock seems to be falling now. I think this is a case of the stock being a victim of its own success. Although the outlook remains positive for the underlying business, I think momentum has carried the price a little too high and the valuation is correcting. I’d wait for the fall to base-out — which could be imminent — and then research the firm with a view to buying some of the shares because the enterprise looks like it has more growth left to run.