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Alcon's Stock Drops as Sales Miss Estimates in the Third Quarter

November 15, 2023
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Alcon Inc. faced a decline of over 4% in premarket trading on Wednesday, reacting to the company's third-quarter financial results that fell short of analysts' expectations. The eye care company reported net income of $204 million, equivalent to 41 cents per share, marking a substantial increase from the year-earlier period's net income of $116 million, or 23 cents per share.

The adjusted earnings per share stood at 66 cents, up from 50 cents in the previous year, aligning with the FactSet consensus. Despite this positive performance on the earnings front, the company's revenues for the third quarter amounted to $2.303 billion, slightly below the FactSet consensus of $2.353 billion.

In response to the financial outcomes, Alcon revised its full-year outlook, particularly on the upper end, for both sales and adjusted earnings per share. The updated guidance now anticipates sales in the range of $9.3 billion to $9.4 billion, compared to the earlier projection of $9.3 billion to $9.5 billion. Adjusted earnings per share are expected to be in the range of $2.70 to $2.75, down from the previous forecast of $2.70 to $2.80.

Within Alcon's ocular-health segment, revenues experienced a notable increase of 19% from the previous year, reaching $415 million. This growth was primarily driven by robust sales of eye drops and price increases, contributing to the positive momentum in this particular segment.

Additionally, contact-lens sales recorded a 10% growth from the prior year, totaling $612 million. According to an analysis by Needham analysts, Alcon appears to have gained market share in the contact-lens industry over the past year, based on the performance of both Bausch + Lomb Corp. and Johnson & Johnson.

Despite these positive aspects, the performance of Alcon's surgical segment fell below expectations, with total sales of $1.276 billion missing the FactSet consensus of $1.307 billion.

Alcon's shares, which have experienced a 9.4% gain year-to-date, faced a decline in response to the third-quarter results. In contrast, the broader market, represented by the S&P 500, has seen a more substantial increase, up 17% over the same period.

While the company has showcased strength in certain segments of its business, the overall market reaction suggests that investors were expecting more robust financial results. The revision in the full-year outlook, especially on the upper end, may have contributed to the downward pressure on Alcon's stock in premarket trading. As the eye care company navigates these challenges, the market will closely watch its future performance and strategic initiatives to regain investor confidence.

Cathy Hills
Associate Editor
Eric Ng
John Liu
Editorial Board
Bryan Curtis
Adan Harris
Managing Editor
Cathy Hills
Associate Editor

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