Moderna shares fall after company cuts 2021 forecast for Covid vaccine sales

 


Shares in Moderna fell on Friday after the company lowered its full-year forecast for Covid-19 vaccine sales and announced plans to pay a dividend despite a loss in its first quarter.

The Massachusetts-based biotechnology company said it now expects first-quarter Covid-19 vaccine sales of $1.49bn (£1.09bn), down from a previous forecast of between $1.67bn and $1.77bn.

Shares in Moderna fell as much as 10.3% to $443.31 and were down more than 5% in extended trading at the time of publishing.

The fall came after Moderna also announced it would pay a dividend of $0.75 a share to shareholders of record on 17 July, an 89% increase over the dividend in 2019.

It will be the fourth dividend payments to shareholders this year, after the company paid an increase to its quarterly dividend earlier this year.

This brought $43.1bn (£35.2bn) worth of dividend payments paid by Moderna this year.

Moderna said the increase to its quarterly dividend indicated the company believed it would be able to make further payments.

The first quarter of 2020 was a largely unpredictable period for Moderna and its peers, with the company saying its performance “remained somewhat unpredictable” at the time.

On Monday, amid a mixed set of results from the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and in order to “provide the best and clearest information available to shareholders”, Moderna also said it would update its financial guidance to “approximately double” its sales forecasts for the year.

Mylan said on Friday its first-quarter financial performance was strong and that its second-quarter financial performance was expected to show “continued growth”.

The company said vaccine sales would be at or above its previously reported revenue of between $955m and $1.08bn, with full-year revenue guidance increasing by between $1.3bn and $1.6bn.

The announcement marked the latest promise of a speedy recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and on Tuesday, Pfizer and BioNTech, the two companies jointly developing a coronavirus vaccine, said their candidate had been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

This announcement came on the back of the news of the United States becoming the first country to approve a Covid-19 vaccine, with the first doses of the vaccine coming from the US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer on Wednesday.

More than 100 million people will receive the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine across the US by mid-February, according to the initial distribution plan.

Pfizer and BioNTech say their vaccine is 95% effective against people infected with Covid-19 – the only vaccines to be proven to be more than 90% effective.

The US administration said on Thursday it had decided to place the two companies’ vaccines on its priority list of vaccines for vulnerable groups, citing the companies’ experience making vaccines and results from trials showing their vaccines were highly effective against the coronavirus.

A shipment of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is expected to arrive by 14 January and the first doses will be disbursed shortly after, with initial doses to be administered by 9 February.

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