Volatile Times Are When AbbVie Shines the Brightest

May 16, 2022 at 3:00 AM
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    Volatile Times Are When AbbVie Shines the Brightest

    A rock-solid dividend means investors don’t need much growth to get a generous total return 

    In the interest of full disclosure, I did it again. Or what’s more accurate to say is...I didn’t do it again. For yet another quarter, I talked myself out of pulling the trigger on AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV) before its ex-dividend date in April. That means I missed out, again, on getting a piece of a reliable, growing dividend. 

    Now some people would say it’s a good thing I didn’t because about two weeks after ABBV stock went ex-dividend, the company reported its first-quarter 2022 earnings. And suffice it to say the market didn’t like it. Or maybe they did, but they felt there was just enough bad in it to justify knocking 6% off the company’s share price.   

    And with institutional investors feverishly working to reprice the market, ABBV stock hasn’t fully recovered that loss. But the good news for investors (like me) who are considering investing in ABBV stock, is that a little growth can go a long way. That’s because of the aforementioned dividend which makes it more than worthwhile to hold on to ABBV stock.  

    Dealing With Humira Patent Expiration 

    A key concern for investors is the impact on revenue as the company is preparing to lose its patent protection on Humira in the United States. As sales in Europe are showing, there will be some effect. However, it’s not happening as sharply as expected. In fact, international sales of Humira came in at $740 million. That means, even with an 18% decline, it still puts the company on track to generate about $3 billion annually.  

    On its face that’s good news for what is likely to happen when AbbVie loses its patent protection for Humira in the United States. But there’s a larger takeaway for investors.  

    For a company like AbbVie, it’s all about the pipeline. And AbbVie has two in-market drugs that targe the same indications as Humira. Skyrizi and Rinvoq have patent protections (for now) and are delivering an increasing piece of revenue. In the last quarter, those two drugs contributed approximately $1.4 billion to the company’s top line. That puts it on pace to eclipse $5 billion this year.  

    Skyrizi showed a 64% year-over-year (YOY) increase and Rinvoq showed a 54% YOY increase. Those growth rates are likely to be unsustainable. However, it’s not hard to see the combined revenue doubling in the next few years.   

    Investors Get a Chance to Double Dip 

    ABBV stock is up 123% since the onset of the pandemic. That’s on par with many of the top growth stocks. But that’s an outlier. From January 2013 through the end of December 2019, ABBV stock averaged 22% growth. But even that may be an outlier. Some analysts are suggesting that, with tightening monetary policy, investors may recalibrate their expectations for growth.  

    That plays to AbbVie’s strength. Because even if the company can “only” generate growth in the high single digits, the company’s rock-solid dividend can easily help give investors a double-digit total return. 

    Don’t Make My Mistake 

    One reason that I stayed on the sidelines with ABBV stock was that, at around $170 a share, it was hard to see much growth. But now that the stock has pulled back, investors are getting a chance to buy ABBV stock at a more attractive price. The company doesn’t report earnings until the end of July, so there won’t probably won’t be much news until then.  

    However, ABBV stock will go ex-dividend in mid-July. If you’re like me, you’ll want to make sure you get on the stock before then. Because at times like this, AbbVie appears to be a good place to park some of your hard-earned capital.  


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