Merged US pharmacy giant Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (NASDAQ:WBA) saw its first quarter earnings narrowly miss estimates but it has raised the low end of its full-year guidance.
The Nasdaq-listed company posted first quarter earnings of US$1.05bn, or US$0.97 a share, down from the US$1.11bn, or US$1.01 a share it reported at the same stage a year earlier.
The group’s first quarter revenues fell by 1.8% to US$28.5bn, also slightly below forecasts for US$29.2bn.
WBA’s US retail pharmacy business – its largest division - reported a 1.1% increase in sales at existing stores.
However, sales at retail outlets open at least a year fell 0.5% during the quarter, reflecting lower sales of general merchandise and beauty products.
WBA said it now expects its adjusted earnings per share for the current fiscal year to be US$4.90 to US$5.20, compared with its previous guidance for US$4.85 to $5.20 a share.
The group’s executive vice chairman and chief executive, Stefano Pessina said: “We continue to anticipate that growth in the second half of fiscal 2017 will reflect the new strategic pharmacy partnerships we announced last year."
Rite-Aid tie-up ...
Last month, WBA and Rite-Aid Corp (NYSE:RAD) - under pressure from antitrust regulators - moved a step closer to consummating their $9.4bn tie-up by agreeing to sell 865 Rite-Aid locations to Fred's Inc.
Pessina said the two companies were continuing to work towards completing the merger early this year.
WBA was formed in at the end of 2014 by the merger of Walgreens with Alliance Boots, a company itself created from the merger of UK pharmacy giants Boots and Alliance Unichem in 2006.