Friday, November 7, 2008

The "New" Goldman Sachs "Restarts" Schering-Plough -- at "Neutral". . . .


About a two and a half years ago (March 20, 2006), the bad, old Goldman Sachs -- when its fancy Bank Holding Company structure (and thus regulated by, and eligible for bailouts from, the Fed's trough) wasn't even a glimmer in its eye, had started Schering as "Inline Perform". . . .

Press Fast Forward: Now, as the Sunday-morning hangover fog from "bonuses-for-massive-failures-of-judgment" clears away -- the shiny new Goldman has, in conjunction with rating Pfizer a "Sell", called Schering a "Neutral". A Volvo sedan, if you will -- a beige Volvo sedan.

In other words -- no change since March of 2006. Really -- there has been "no change" in Schering, since March of 2006? Color me. . . um, beige, as to that particular proposition. A very-curious beige, though.

More seriously, I might suggest that every factor that led Goldman to rate Pfizer a "Sell" -- would apply with equal, or greater force -- to Schering's plight. To be fair, on Goldman's side of the table, there is the argument that Schering does not face as precarious a near-term patent "cliff" as Pfizer, but Pfizer also has far more cash, and more than triple the size, to weather the storm, or to "go shopping" -- to buy fillers for its pipeline -- in selected, promising areas of therapy, and clearly, in emerging markets.

The fact is, Schering faces (now -- and through 2010) a similarly massive incursion of generics -- to be fully realized in the new year -- into over half of all its profitability -- on the Vytorin/Zetia flagship. There is no question that generic statins, particularly (at one-tenth the price), and branded statins, generally (at one-third the price) will shear off perhaps a little more than half of all those profits, and cash-flow, next year -- in 2009. Schering, and Merck, have all but said so in their SEC filings. Schering is simply too small, and too poorly managed, at this point -- to weather that storm successfully (contra examples: Pfizer and Merck).

Oh. Right. Did I mention already that Goldman Sachs might still have a little less than $800 million reasons NOT to list Schering as a "Sell" (and thus place even more pressure on Schering's price per share)? Yep -- either directly, or through "reputational exposures" to its private wealth clients -- it might. Hmmmmm. Interesting.

Looking for something to sell? Sell Schering. Short. Here endeth the sermon.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

don't look now~but Fred and Tom Koestler are presenting (live) the late stage R+D projects (along with updates to the Action Agenda) on the 24th.

Hope you're tuning in......

Condor said...

I did notice that -- I'll live blog it!

Thanks for the reminder -- Namaste!

Anonymous said...

More boceprevir issues:

http://messages.finance.yahoo.com/Stocks_%28A_to_Z%29/Stocks_V/threadview?m=tm&bn=19596&tid=30855&mid=30855&tof=2&frt=1