Thursday, May 15, 2008

LIVE-BLOGGING the Presentation Portion of Schering-Plough's Annual Shareholders Meeting -- Here, on Friday Morning


I'll likely skip all the routine stuff -- the election of directors, and approval of auditors -- but I will live-blog (with one heapin' helping of snark!) any salient questions from the floor, and all the business review and outlook presentations from Schering-Plough's management -- right here. Do stop back on Friday -- right below this line will be a link to the live-audio web-cast of the meeting.


Once you have the new window open,
you can read the live-blogging, and
participate in the chat, here, all
while hearing and watching, over
there -- cool, huh? Cool!

While Schering's annual meeting of shareholders is being held in an inconvenient location this year (Gee -- I wonder why?), and at an inconvenient hour -- in the very early morning hours, for those of us on the West Coast -- through the magic of "the Tubes" (Heh!), I will make it seem like we are all sitting right there, inside the Auditorium, miked-up, at The University of Memphis, FedEx Institute of Technology, 365 Innovation Drive, Memphis, Tennessee, on Friday, May 16, 2008, at 6:00 a.m. PDT, or 8:00 a.m., local Memphis time.

Bonus! -- we'll have our own private VIP room, cordoned off with a yellowred-velvet rope, to skewer the less-than-full-truths told then, and there! Yep, that's right -- I'll even have that little yellow live-chat-box all cleaned-up, cleared-out (it is full of various of the US House Hearings' commentary, from last few weeks, at the moment) and running again -- right here, in the left margin of this post -- so that anyone stopping by tomorrow morning will be able to comment, ask questions, and/or live-snark-blog it, in real time, themselves, and anonymously, too!

What's not to like?

[Actually -- between now, and then, feel free to speak your mind on any Schering-related topic, directly into that yellow-chat-box (I did see yours "DeWaarheid" -- Did you see mine, back to you?), at left -- I'll listen. I promise.]

So, bookmark this post, and return to it on Friday morning, at about 5:50 AM PDT -- I'll have a hot pot of coffee a-brewing, and an ample steaming-creamer full of snark1, ready to go, too. I'll also make sure this is the post on the top of the page, that morning. See ya' then, then.

[UPDATED MAY 16 @ 3:12 PM EDT]

▲ One of the AP's Business Writers, Linda A. Johnson, is moving the first story on CEO Hassan's remarks, of this morning, concluding thus: ". . . .Hassan says Schering-Plough will never again depend on a single blockbuster like allergy drug Claritin. . . ." Well, does 2008 count, here?

Allow me -- perhaps intemperately -- to ask -- "How much of Schering's 2008 profitability will Vytorin/Zetia be?" Oh -- Right. That is technically two drugs -- not one. But it will very likely be north of 55 percent, and it was north of 60 percent in 2007. Don't believe me? Okay. Fair enough. "Let's go to the tape", then.

Let's look at what CEO Hassan effectively swore was true, about nine days ago, when filed in his First Quarter 2008 Form 10-Q (Page 25) with the SEC, for Schering-Plough [emphasis supplied]:
". . . .Schering-Plough’s current profitability is largely dependent upon the performance of the cholesterol franchise. . . ."
In SEC-speak "largely-dependent", means well north of 50 percent.

▲ So, I guess the question becomes, Mr. Hassan, when were you telling the truth, here?

Were you telling the truth, nine days ago, to the SEC, in the Form 10-Q, when you wrote that "Schering is largely dependent upon" Vytorin/Zetia for its continued profitability?

Or, were you telling the truth, this morning, when you said that Schering "will never again be dependent" on one drug?

I hate this sort of parsing -- but I guess we'll need to know what Mr. Hassan means when he uses the phrase "will never again be".

Does he mean, by using the word "will" -- that 2008 doesn't count? Did 2008 just end? Did I just miss New Year's Eve (again!?), rolling into 2009?

Did he actually mean to refer solely to 2009, 2010, and beyond? Is that what he means by "will"? "Never again" clearly implies that this is all in Mr. Hassan's rear-view mirror, here -- and we all. Know. It. Is. Not. So, I ask again: When was he telling the truth? When was he shading the truth? Who is to know? This is over half of Schering's profitability we are speaking about -- so there is, frankly, no legitimate basis upon which to be "mincing words", like this, Mr. Hassan.

▲ And, every bit as importantly now, how -- exactly -- does he plan to get there (2010 -- non-dependence), from here (2008 -- dependent)? These are very significant questions, to my eye. Questions unanswered by his remarks, other than vague references to "savings" from his so-called Productivity Transformation Program (PTP), this morning.

▲ It seems only CEO Hassan's positive spin-points are to web-cast -- not the Q & A -- where the "meat" of the meeting occurs. Does that smell like fear? Does that smell like desperation? What we must now do is wait -- wait for actual reporters, in the auditorium, on campus, at the University of Memphis, to file their actual stories -- with the wires. How positively 20th century, no? C'mon Fred -- watcha' hidin', here?!

▲ The supposedly "One Hour Long Presentation" lasted a grand total of about forty minutes. Once again, delivering less than promised, here, Schering-Plough. Gee -- thanks Fred -- very transparent! NOT.

▲ Erh -- Well, that was FAST! -- "Elvis has LEFT the BUILDING!" -- Thanks for asking, though, Pharma-Gossip!

pharmagossip: Hi all. What time is Elvis on?

▲ PTP message has been revised! Far less about ENHANCE -- far more about overall health-care industry, FDA slow-approvals, and pharma market-forces. Wow!

▲ That is truly low-brow, of him, "Lost in Memphis" (immediately below) -- I am sorry. You folks down there deserved better.

I might think of a million things to write here, in response, but my enduring image -- is one of Dr. King, standing with garbage-haulers, day-laborers, and ordinary, decent folk. . . . seeking fairness -- right there, in Memphis, on April 3 (one night before his last morning on Earth), now just over 40 years ago. . . .

What a world -- and millennium -- of difference, eh?

In any event, I empathize with your disappointment.

Lost in Memphis: Fred comes to Memphis for the first time today and can not even make time to address the employees in the Consumer Healthcare Division who always get the short end of the stick. Way not to "Earn Trust" from your own employees to treat them as if they do not even matter.

▲ Hassan said ENHANCE results created "unexpected firestorm" in January 2008 -- and "confusion" among patients [REPLAY VIDEO, PART TWO, @ 3:10 to 3:15]. WAIT! -- what about April 2006 through January 2008?! What about the "earlier firestorm" in December 2007 that led to a Congressional investigation?! That doesn't meet the "straight-faced" test.

▲ 2002 is not 2008 -- When he said Vytorin/Zetia is 12 percent of sales, that was 2002. Profits from that combo is about 55 percent of all Schering profitability in 2007, and beyond.

▲ Mentioned Suggamadex -- still on hold at FDA -- probably late-2008 (my view).

▲ CEO Hassan says most of growth was "non-cholesterol", these past two years -- that must be. . . . um, how to put this delicately. . . . false.

▲ Hassan calls the new logo (basically, an italicized font, and brighter, bloodier red, in the icon!) an important milestone in Schering's way forward. Wow. Impressive -- not.

▲ I am slightly-chagrined to admit that I miscalculated the start-time, at least expressed as an Eastern Daylight Time -- the CORRECT start, on the East-Coast, will be 9 AM (6 AM Pacific), and 8 AM in Memphis, Tennessee.

▲ The cover slide of the presentation is up -- CLICK HERE -- if you do not already have a separate window to the meeting VIDEO feed, and slide-show, open. That link will open one for you (or, if it won't open in a new window, hold down your "shift" key while clicking it).

▲ Jazzy music, and -- the video feed is running Schering commercials -- nice touch!

I will be posting updates, mostly from the yellow chat-box, at left, just below the EKG-MIC-Line (above), as a series of dot-points (just as I did during the Q1 Earnings Conference Calls for both Merck and Schering).

Start refreshing your browser often, shortly after 6:00 AM (PDT) on Friday morning. There will appear running text of the live-blogging here -- for easy reading -- so, again, see you live, then, erh. . . then.


FOOTNOTE No. 1: "Snark" defined.


Anonymous said...

Looking forward to Friday, but can you educate me - what is "snark"?


condor said...

Sure! -- "snark" is generally thought to refer to a combinaiton of "snide" and "remark" -- via the Urban Dictionary, thus:

Snark: Sometimes it seems to mean humorless negativity, as you would expect from "snide remark". But other times it seems to mean what I think of as "wit", a carefully crafted short remark that includes humor, which may or may not be biting. . . .

Now, when I use that word (think Lewis Carroll, here!), I clearly intend to infer a humorously-skewering remark -- and I think journalists use the term in this way -- though, I suppose, if what one types it thought to be unfunny, by the reader, then the Metafilter definition (above) would seem particularly apt.

I hope this proves to be of help!