Walgreen Company (NYSE:WAG) unexpectedly announced on Tuesday that it was withdrawing its profit goals for fiscal year 2016. The retail pharmacy giant pointed to slightly lagging performance in pharmacy operations and a lack of clarity on restructuring after the expected purchase of European drug giant Alliance Boots GmbH in rolling back its forward guidance.
Walgreen’s reasons for restating guidance
The nation’s largest drugstore chain said its BoD needs some more time to figure out the combined management team, future capital structure, and the legal and financial framework for finalizing the transaction.
Walgreen Company (NYSE:WAG) CEO Greg Wasson said in a conference call Tuesday, June 24th, that he and the board need 4 to 6 additional weeks to work out some of those “complex issues” involving “a lot of moving parts.”
Aside from requiring more time to hash out the deal structure, Walgreen said it pulled its 2016 projections in part because both companies’ financial performance has fallen behind projections. When Walgreen and Boots announced the deal in 2012, executives had expected the combined company’s adjusted operating income in 2016 would be $9 billion to $9.5 billion on revenue of $130 billion.
“We weren’t in the last couple of quarters…tracking…to hit those adjusted earnings numbers,” Wasson explained. “With our current performance, we didn’t think that was achievable.”
Completing Alliance Boots acquisition
Walgreen Company (NYSE:WAG) paid $6.7 billion for 45% of Swiss-based Alliance Boots in 2012, and the deal included an option to purchase the res of the company before 2016. Walgreen management has already said the deal should be completed as planned.
Following the anticipated takeover, Walgreen will likely be facing shareholder pressure to consider a corporate inversion, i.e., re-domicile its headquarters in Europe to take advantage of a lower corporate tax rate.
Walgreen executives would not address the issue of a corporate inversion specifically in the Tuesday conference call, but CFO Wade Miquelon elabortaed that the company is “looking at everything” that could possiobly create long-term value for shareholders.
Shares of Walgreen Company (NYSE:WAG) were down as much as two dollars on the withdrawn guidance news this morning, but rebounded to close to unchanged by 1 PM ET.