Walgreens Boots Alliance’s fiscal fourth-quarter results beat Wall Street analysts’ expectations as the drugstore company sees significant growth in demand for COVID-19 vaccines amid increasing numbers of employee-vaccine decisions among companies.
Walgreens shares closed 7.4% higher at $50.77 as investors responded to the pharmacy chain’s ambitious plans to transform into a healthcare-focused company. The most important step in this strategy was the announcement of a $5.2 billion investment in VillageMD, a primary care company that owns clinics within Walgreens pharmacies, the majority stake in VillageMD will help not only dispense prescriptions, but also bring in the physicians who write those prescriptions.
During the fourth quarter, Walgreens applied about 13.5 million doses of vaccines, nearly double its previous forecast of 7 million doses, in reference to people’s concerns about infection with the Covid-19 virus, especially the deadly Delta strain, noting that last April, it announced the application of 8 million doses during the second quarter. Read more [Walgreens Says 8M Doses of Corona Vaccine Have Been Applied and Raises Its Profit Prediction For 2021].
The pharmacy chain’s adjusted earnings for the fourth quarter ended August 31 were $1.17 per share, compared to expectations of $1.02 per share, and revenue came to $34.26 billion, beating expectations of $33.3 billion.
Online and offline Walgreens drugstore sales grew 8.1% compared to the same quarter last year as people moved towards being vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine and dispensed more prescriptions, sales of the company’s health products jumped 14% year-on-year as consumers purchased more home virus tests, vitamins and over-the-counter medicines to treat coughs, colds and flu.
As of Thursday’s closing price, Walgreens Boots Alliance shares are up 27% this year, bringing the company’s market value to $44 billion.