AstraZeneca plc Upbeat On Revenue Recovery

drugsThe shares of AstraZeneca (LSE: AZN) (NYSE: AZN.US) added 80p to 3,744p during early trade this morning after the pharmaceutical group provided an upbeat assessment of its revenue prospects.

The FTSE 100 member said it continued to believe “a return to growth should come earlier than analyst consensus currently forecasts“, and that it now expects 2017 group revenues to be “broadly in line” with 2013 revenues.

AstraZeneca added that it would provide further details about its progress within its 2013 annual results, due to be published on 6 February.

During March last year, the blue chip claimed it could “significantly exceed” the then market consensus for 2018 revenues of $21.5bn.

AstraZeneca’s revenues fell 17% to $28bn during 2012 and dropped 9% to $19bn during the first nine months of 2013. Several products losing their patents and suffering generic competition have caused the top-line trouble.

Today’s statement from AstraZeneca also revealed the group’s late-stage pipeline consists of 11 Phase III and 27 Phase II programmes.

Prior to today, City experts were expecting AstraZeneca’s upcoming annual results to show earnings at 307p per share and a dividend of roughly 180p per share.

Following this morning’s price movement, the shares may therefore trade on a P/E of 12 and yield a possible 4.8%.

Of course, whether those ratings, the revenue prediction for 2017 as well as the wider prospects for the pharmaceutical sector all combine to make AstraZeneca a 'buy' right now is something only you can decide.

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> Maynard does not own any share mentioned in this article.