AmerisourceBergen Corporation (Holding Co) (ABC)

SeekingAlpha  Oct 17  Comment 
By Equity Watch: I reiterate my bullish stance on Walgreen Company (NYSE:WAG); the company's healthy top-line growth is consistently supported by its strong market presence and large scale. Moreover, I believe that the cost synergies from...
Market Intelligence Center  Oct 14  Comment 
After closing Monday at $75.84, AmerisourceBergen Corp (ABC) presents an attractive opportunity to get a 4.40% return in just 129 days, which is an annualized return of 12.45% (for comparison purposes only). To enter this trade, sell one Feb. '15...
SeekingAlpha  Sep 30  Comment 
By Tim McAleenan Jr.: AmerisourceBergen (NYSE:ABC) is one of those companies that has gradually gotten more expensive each year coming out of the financial crisis. In 2009, the company traded at 10.4x earnings. In 2010, the valuation inched up to...
DailyFinance  Aug 7  Comment 
The Board of Directors of AmerisourceBergen Corporation (NYSE:ABC) today declared a quarterly dividend of $0.235 per common share, payable September 2, 2014, to stockholders of record at the close of business on August 18,...
Market Intelligence Center  Jul 30  Comment's patented trade-picking algorithms have identified an attractive covered-call trade on AmerisourceBergen Corp (ABC). Look at the Nov. '14 $77.50 covered call for a net debit in the $74.72 area. This trade has a...
SeekingAlpha  Jul 24  Comment 
The following audio is from a conference call that will begin on July 24, 2014 at 11:00 AM ET. The audio will stream live while the call is active, and can be replayed upon its completion. Listen now Complete Story »
Wall Street Journal  Jul 24  Comment 
AmerisourceBergen Corp. said its fiscal third-quarter revenue jumped 39% and beat expectations, driven by strong gains in its pharmaceutical distribution business.
MarketWatch  Jul 24  Comment 
AmerisourceBergen Corp. on Thursday beat Wall Street forecasts, as the drug wholesale company noted a strong June performance driven by bringing on board new business. AmerisourceBergen reported fiscal third-quarter adjusted earnings from...
Forbes  Jul 24  Comment 
Optimism surrounds AmerisourceBergen, as it gets ready to report its second quarter results on Thursday, July 24, 2014. Analysts are expecting the company to book a profit of 92 cents a share, up from 73 cents a year ago.Analysts are projecting...  Jul 7  Comment 
WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - AmerisourceBergen Corp.(ABC) said that its third-quarter net loss was $12.78 million or $0.06 per share, compared to net income of $168.44 million or $0.71 per share in the same quarter last year. Adjusted operating income...


This article refers to the drug wholesaler. For the broadcaster ABC, see Walt Disney Company (DIS).

AmerisourceBergen (NYSE: ABC) sells drugs to health care providers such as hospitals, pharmacies and clinics. The company acts as an intermediary, or middleman, between drug manufacturers and providers and ranks as the third-largest U.S. pharmaceutical distributor in the $250B pharmaceutical distribution industry, behind McKesson (MCK) and Cardinal Health (CAH). Drug distributors provide the specialized delivery services to end consumers. They ensure that the drugs are stored and transported under the prescribed conditions (adequate refrigeration, pressure, etc.) and delivered to secure locations. Whereas ABC's competitors have expanded into medical product manufacturing, healthcare information technology, and other services, ABC remains focused on pharmaceutical distribution.

With over $69B in pharmaceuticals slated to lose patent protection from 2007-2011, lower cost generic drugs carry the very real potential to lower revenue and profits for distributors like ABC. Although ABC earns higher margins on generic drugs, the company earns significantly less in terms of absolute profit from generic drugs because of their lower prices. However, it remains to be seen if ABC will be able to increase the volume of generic drugs it distributes once drugs come off of patents.

Company Overview

Business Financials

Between 2008 and 2009, ABC's total revenues saw a modest increase. In 2009, ABC posted total revenues of $71.7 billion, compared to its 2008 total revenues of $70.2 billion.[1] This had a large impact on ABC's net income though. Between 2008 and 2009, ABC's net income increased from $251 million in 2008 to $503 million in 2009.[1]

Business Segments

ABC has three main business segments.

Pharmaceutical Distribution

ABC is an intermediary, or middleman, between drug manufacturers and providers (e.g. pharmacies). The company mainly warehouses and distributes branded and generic drugs to hospitals, pharmacies, clinics, and other customers.

Specialty Distribution

ABC's Specialty Distribution is the leader in oncology products and also a leading distributor of vaccines and other injectables.


PMSI provides home delivery of prescription drugs (through mail order and on-line pharmacy services) to patients under workers’ compensation programs.

Trends & Forces

Declining growth of pharmaceutical sales

Historically, the most significant trend that has affected the pharmaceutical distribution business has been the volume and price of drugs purchased in the United States. Distributors such as ABC benefit directly from a greater amount of pharmaceuticals consumed by the American public. Although total pharmaceutical market sales have been increasing for the past years, the growth has fallen from about 18% at the beginning of 2001 to 5%.

The decline in growth has been attributed to a shrinking number of “blockbuster drugs,” or popular, trendy pharmaceuticals, as patents expired and consumers purchased cheaper generic versions. Less expensive drugs result in lower total market sales, and less profit for distributors. Second, changes in health care such as tighter regulations and cost shifting to consumers have adversely affected total market sales.

Fee-for-Service Compensation leads to less volatile revenue

The entire pharmaceutical distribution industry has undergone significant changes in recent years, as the compensation system changed from forward buying to fee-for-service payment. Before the transition, wholesalers such as ABC would buy pharmaceuticals ahead of receiving any orders from pharmacies & hospitals, hold them, and hope that the demand and prices of these drugs would go up (primarily due to inflation) in the holding period. However, profit margins shrank as the growth in the price of branded pharmaceuticals slowed. Distributors are now reimbursed by fee-for-service payments, as customers negotiate contracts to pay a certain fee for deliveries and additional services. These changes result in a steadier, more controlled cash-flow for distributors.

Generic Drugs Drive margin growth, but may depress revenue

The growth of generic drugs represents both an opportunity and a threat for ABC. The drugs have margins up to 5 times higher than generic drugs of branded pharmaceuticals. Generic drugs are also much cheaper than their more exclusive counterparts. With $13.6 billion in branded drugs sales losing patent protection in 2006 and a projected $69 billion in branded drug sales losing protection from 2007-2011, generic drugs can also have the potential to dramatically lower overall revenue growth in the in the pharmaceutical industry.

  • Benefits

Because generics are much like normal commodities, they have a large reliance on wholesalers. Because wholesalers contract packages with multiple pharmaceuticals to their clients, they can essentially guarantee their clients as buyers for a generic drug. Therefore, wholesalers control a significant portion of the demand for any individual generic. Competition amongst generic manufacturers allows wholesalers to then extract better terms from the manufacturers, hence the much higher profit margins with generics than with branded drugs. Furthermore, generic distribution involves lower inventory and general operating costs.

  • Pitfalls

There is no guarantee that the pharmaceutical distribution business can maintain profits as the market shifts towards generic drugs. Although currently the generic drugs have a positive impact on the distribution industry, there are concerns that competition between generics could hurt profits. When competition causes prices to collapse, absolute earnings begin to fall, and sometimes distributors earn less with generics than they did previously with the branded version. This occurs when a generic drug’s price is about 3% of its branded version’s price.


ABC competes in the pharmaceutical distribution market primarily with McKesson (MCK) and Cardinal Health (CAH).

Below is a graph comparing the percentages of revenue from the different segments of the three major players. Notice that ABC is much less diversified than the other two.

Company Distribution Med/Surg Supplies Provider IT Automation Services Long-term care pharmacy Revenues ($B)
AmerisourceBergen 99% n/a n/a n/a n/a $61.7
Cardinal Health (CAH)[2] 80% 13% 4% 3% n/a $81.4
McKesson (MCK)[3] 94% 4% 2% n/a n/a $93.0


  1. 1.0 1.1 ABC 10-K 2009 Item 6 Pg. 19
  2. CAH 10K 2006
  3. MCK 10K 2007
Wikinvest © 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012. Use of this site is subject to express Terms of Service, Privacy Policy, and Disclaimer. By continuing past this page, you agree to abide by these terms. Any information provided by Wikinvest, including but not limited to company data, competitors, business analysis, market share, sales revenues and other operating metrics, earnings call analysis, conference call transcripts, industry information, or price targets should not be construed as research, trading tips or recommendations, or investment advice and is provided with no warrants as to its accuracy. Stock market data, including US and International equity symbols, stock quotes, share prices, earnings ratios, and other fundamental data is provided by data partners. Stock market quotes delayed at least 15 minutes for NASDAQ, 20 mins for NYSE and AMEX. Market data by Xignite. See data providers for more details. Company names, products, services and branding cited herein may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. The use of trademarks or service marks of another is not a representation that the other is affiliated with, sponsors, is sponsored by, endorses, or is endorsed by Wikinvest.
Powered by MediaWiki