CVS's Revenue Rises as It Pursues Aetna

By Cara Lombardo Features Dow Jones Newswires

Stronger pharmacy sales boosted CVS Health Corp.'s revenue in its latest quarter as the drugstore chain weighs a purchase of health insurer Aetna Inc., a move that would bolster its prescription business.

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CVS's third-quarter revenue rose 3.5% to $46.2 billion, matching what analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected.

The Wall Street Journal reported last month that the drugstore giant is in talks to buy Aetna for $66 billion, according to people familiar with the matter, following a six-month hunt for a deal partner. The move would strengthen CVS's position in negotiations with drugmakers, and analysts are likely to question company executives about the potential tie-up on a Monday earnings call.

People familiar with the discussions have said it could take until the end of the year to solidify a deal, if it happens.

In its latest quarter, sales in CVS's pharmacy-services segment increased 8.1% to $32.9 billion, driven by growth in pharmacy network claims and specialty pharmacy volume. Retail segment sales, meanwhile, slipped 2.7% to $19.6 billion, hurt by falling same-store sales.

The company also recorded $55 million in expenses related to the recent string of hurricanes, with most of it impacting the retail segment.

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Overall for the quarter, CVS reported a profit of $1.3 billion, or $1.26 a share, compared with $1.5 billion, or $1.43 a share, a year ago.

Excluding one-time items, the Woonsocket, R.I.-based company earned $1.50 a share, compared with $1.64 a year ago. Analysts had expected adjusted earnings per share of $1.48 on net income of $1.5 billion.

The company also narrowed its full-year earnings guidance and raised the midpoint. It now expects adjusted earnings of $5.87 to $5.91. It previously guided a range of $5.83 to $5.93.

CVS shares, down 12% this year, rose less than 1% premarket on low volume.

Write to Cara Lombardo at cara.lombardo@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 06, 2017 08:10 ET (13:10 GMT)