Walgreens Boots Alliance Reports Fiscal Year 2020 Results
Company Delivers Results at High End of Guidance Range; Expects EPS Growth in Fiscal 2021
Fourth quarter Walgreens Boots Alliance highlights, year-over-year
- Sales increased 2.3 percent to $34.7 billion, up 2.3 percent on a constant currency basis
- Operating income decreased 26.0 percent to $650 million; Adjusted operating income decreased 27.7 percent to $1.1 billion, down 27.4 percent on a constant currency basis
- EPS decreased 42.8 percent to $0.43; Adjusted EPS decreased 28.2 percent to $1.02, down 27.9 percent on a constant currency basis; reflecting an estimated adverse COVID-19 impact of approximately $0.46
Fiscal 2020 highlights, year-over-year
- Sales increased 2.0 percent to $139.5 billion, up 2.5 percent on a constant currency basis
- Operating income decreased 73.7 percent to $1.3 billion; Adjusted operating income decreased 24.9 percent to $5.2 billion, down 24.8 percent on a constant currency basis
- EPS decreased 88.0 percent to $0.52; Adjusted EPS decreased 20.8 percent to $4.74, down 20.6 percent on a constant currency basis; reflecting an estimated adverse COVID-19 impact of approximately $1.06
- Net cash provided by operating activities was $5.5 billion, a decrease of $109 million compared with fiscal 2019; Free cash flow increased 5.6 percent to $4.1 billion
Fiscal 2021 guidance
- Company introduced fiscal 2021 guidance of low single-digit growth in adjusted EPS at constant currency rates
DEERFIELD, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (Nasdaq: WBA) today announced financial results for the fiscal year and fourth quarter that ended August 31, 2020.
Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Stefano Pessina said, “I am pleased to report results that came in at the high end of our expectations as we continue to adapt and transform our business model to changing customer needs. Despite uncertainty amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing gradual improvement in key U.S. and UK markets and continued strong performance in our wholesale business. I'm also encouraged by the accelerating growth in our e-commerce platforms. Now, more than ever, our pharmacy-centered business is at the heart of community healthcare and we are expanding on that role for the future. I continue to be inspired by the tireless efforts of our teams as they support and care for our customers, patients and communities, while accelerating progress on our clear set of strategic priorities. Looking ahead, we are projecting adjusted EPS growth in fiscal 2021, as reflected in our new guidance."
Overview of Fourth Quarter Results
Fiscal 2020 fourth quarter net earnings attributable to Walgreens Boots Alliance decreased 44.9 percent to $373 million compared with the same quarter a year ago and net earnings per share1 decreased 42.8 percent to $0.43. Adjusted net earnings2 decreased 30.9 percent to $887 million, down 30.6 percent on a constant currency basis. Adjusted earnings per share were $1.02, down 28.2 percent on a reported currency basis and down 27.9 percent on a constant currency basis, compared with the same quarter a year ago.
The decreases in both net earnings and adjusted net earnings were primarily due to an estimated adverse COVID-19 impact of $0.46, lower U.S. pharmacy gross profit and year-on-year bonus changes, partially offset by Transformational Cost Management Program savings.
Sales in the fourth quarter were $34.7 billion, an increase of 2.3 percent from the year-ago quarter on both a reported and constant currency basis.
Operating income was $650 million, a decrease of 26.0 percent from the same quarter a year ago. Adjusted operating income was $1.1 billion, a decrease of 27.7 percent from the same quarter a year ago, and a decrease of 27.4 percent on a constant currency basis. The company estimates adverse COVID-19 impact of approximately $520 million, or 34 percentage points of growth.
Net cash provided by operating activities was $2.1 billion in the fourth quarter, a decrease of $292 million from the same quarter a year ago. Free cash flow was $1.7 billion, a decrease of $248 million versus the same quarter last year.
Overview of Fiscal Year Results
Fiscal 2020 net earnings attributable to Walgreens Boots Alliance decreased 88.5 percent to $456 million, while net earnings per share1 decreased 88.0 percent to $0.52, compared with the prior year, primarily due to third quarter non-cash impairment charges and costs related to the Transformational Cost Management Program.
Excluding these items, adjusted net earnings attributable to Walgreens Boots Alliance2 in fiscal 2020 decreased 24.5 percent to $4.2 billion, down 24.3 percent on a constant currency basis, compared with the prior year. Adjusted earnings per share decreased 20.8 percent to $4.74, down 20.6 percent on a constant currency basis, compared with the prior year, primarily due to estimated adverse COVID-19 impact of approximately $1.06, lower U.S. pharmacy gross profit and year-on-year bonus changes, partially offset by Transformational Cost Management Program savings.
Sales increased 2.0 percent to $139.5 billion in fiscal 2020 compared with the prior year. On a constant currency basis, sales increased 2.5 percent.
Operating income in fiscal 2020 was $1.3 billion, a decrease of 73.7 percent from the prior year. Adjusted operating income was $5.2 billion, a decrease of 24.9 percent, and a decrease of 24.8 percent on a constant currency basis. The company estimates adverse COVID-19 impact of approximately $1.2 billion.
Net cash provided by operating activities was $5.5 billion in fiscal 2020, a decrease of $109 million from fiscal 2019. Free cash flow was $4.1 billion, an increase of $219 million from fiscal 2019.
The company today introduced fiscal 2021 guidance of low single-digit growth in adjusted earnings per share at constant currency rates.
While the company anticipates a gradual reduction in COVID-19 impacts, the first half results will continue to be negatively impacted when compared with the pre-COVID-19 first half of fiscal 2020. However, for the second half, the company anticipates strong adjusted EPS growth, as these effects subside and recovery plans take hold in key markets.
Significant investments in fiscal 2021 are expected to accelerate the company's customer-centric approach, with specific focus on transforming omnichannel capabilities and offerings across retail and healthcare. These investments are expected to contribute to the second-half growth profile.
While this guidance anticipates a continued gradual reduction in COVID-19 impacts, the evolution of the pandemic remains uncertain. COVID-19 could present both incremental risks as well as opportunities for the company's business.
Progress on Strategic Priorities
Selected highlights of the company's recent progress on strategic initiatives include the following:
- Boots.com sales rose 155 percent and Walgreens.com sales rose 39 percent in the fourth quarter.
- Walgreens has completed more than 1 million COVID-19 tests at more than 440 sites in 49 states and has increased testing capacity to 500,000 per month. More than 70 percent of testing sites are located in underserved areas. Results are generally provided within 24-72 hours. Walgreens also launched a COVID-19 testing program for businesses.
- GuoDa, the Chinese retail pharmacy chain in which WBA has a minority investment, expanded to more than 7,500 pharmacies, nearly double the count when the WBA-GuoDa relationship began in 2018.
- Mass personalization boosted Walgreens retail sales by 140 basis points in the fourth quarter.
- Walgreens and DoorDash announced an on-demand delivery collaboration.
- Customer response to Walgreens pick-up options has been strong, with sales from online orders collected at drive-thru windows and curbside up more than two fold from the third quarter.
- The Transformational Cost Management Program remains on track to deliver in excess of $2 billion in annual cost savings by fiscal 2022.
- The pace of technology transformation accelerated, with more than 3,500 Walgreens stores converted to retail SAP as of the end of the fourth quarter.
As the company evolves its business model, the focus is on the following key strategic initiatives:
- Accelerating the Boots UK turn-around
- Advancing omnichannel capabilities, including launching an enhanced customer loyalty program, myWalgreens, to more than 100 million consumers and expanding convenient options for pick-up in as little as 30 minutes
- Leveraging investment in VillageMD, opening 500 to 700 full-service doctor offices over the next five years, with initial phase of openings planned for fiscal 2021
- Continuing implementation of the Transformational Cost Management Program
- Expanding COVID-19 testing for businesses and preparing capability for COVID-19 vaccinations
Retail Pharmacy USA:
Fourth quarter sales in Retail Pharmacy USA increased 3.6 percent to $27.0 billion, including the impact of previously announced store closures, reflecting improved retail sales and prescription volume trends. Sales in comparable stores also increased 3.6 percent from the year-ago quarter.
Prescriptions filled in the fourth quarter increased 1.6 percent compared with the same quarter a year earlier. In comparable stores, prescriptions filled increased 3.6 percent from a year earlier, an improvement of 3.2 percentage points compared with the third quarter. The number of prescriptions filled was 287.6 million, including immunizations, adjusted to 30-day equivalents. Pharmacy sales, which accounted for 75.6 percent of the division’s sales in the quarter, increased 4.2 percent compared with the year-ago quarter. Comparable pharmacy sales increased 3.2 percent.
The division’s retail prescription market share on a 30-day adjusted basis in the fourth quarter decreased approximately 30 basis points over the year-ago quarter to 20.7 percent, as reported by IQVIA. This result was mostly due to store closures. Retail prescription market share in fiscal 2020 declined by 40 basis points to 20.9 percent, compared with 21.3 percent in fiscal 2019.
Retail sales increased 1.5 percent in the fourth quarter compared with the year-ago period, including the impact of store optimization programs.
Comparable retail sales increased 4.7 percent, boosted by 15 percent growth in the health and wellness category and 8 percent growth in the personal care category. This was partly offset by a 3 percent decrease in the beauty category. Results were boosted by increased demand for PPE and by the performance of the mass personalization initiative. Walgreens.com sales grew 39 percent in the quarter.
Gross profit decreased 3.1 percent compared with the same quarter a year ago, reflecting pharmacy reimbursement pressure, lower retail margin due to COVID-19 mix impact and higher retail comprehensive loss. Adjusted gross profit decreased 4.5 percent.
SG&A decreased by 2.7 percent, reflecting store optimization and acquisition related costs in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted SG&A decreased by 0.1 percent as savings from the Transformational Cost Management Program offset COVID-19 related costs, year-on-year bonus changes, inflation and investments.
Operating income in the fourth quarter decreased 5.8 percent from the year-ago quarter to $659 million. Adjusted operating income in the fourth quarter decreased 22.2 percent from the year-ago quarter to $884 million. Operating income and adjusted operating income included an adverse impact of approximately $200 million due to COVID-19.
Retail Pharmacy International:
Retail Pharmacy International had fourth quarter sales of $2.3 billion, a decrease of 14.9 percent from the year-ago quarter, including a favorable currency impact of 0.5 percent. Sales decreased 15.4 percent on a constant currency basis, mainly due to a 16.7 percent decrease in Boots UK sales.
Boots UK comparable retail sales decreased 29.2 percent on a constant currency basis as footfall in stores continued to be significantly reduced due to COVID-19, particularly in major high street, train station and airport locations. Footfall did, however, improve steadily in the fourth quarter compared with the third quarter.
Boots UK market share was lower in all categories except beauty, as the pandemic continued to impact heavily on buying habits and consumers temporarily shifted purchasing to one-stop grocery shopping. Boots.com sales growth accelerated to 155 percent compared with the year-ago quarter, partially offsetting the reduced footfall.
Comparable pharmacy sales in Boots UK increased 0.4 percent on a constant currency basis, reflecting favorable timing on National Health Service (NHS) reimbursement, which mitigated the impact of lower prescription volume and reduced demand for pharmacy services during the pandemic.
Gross profit decreased 24.7 percent compared with the same quarter a year ago, including a favorable currency impact of 0.7 percent. Adjusted gross profit decreased 25.7 percent on a constant currency basis, reflecting lower UK retail sales, higher fulfillment costs, marketing investments to drive customer traffic and lower fixed supplier contributions.
SG&A in the quarter decreased 8.7 percent from the year-ago quarter to $964 million, including an adverse currency impact of 0.9 percent. On a constant currency basis, adjusted SG&A decreased by 9.7 percent. The decreases in SG&A and adjusted SG&A both reflect short-term cost mitigation initiatives and savings from the Transformational Cost Management Program.
Operating income in the fourth quarter decreased $181 million from the year-ago quarter to an operating loss of $132 million, primarily as a result of retail sales in the UK. Adjusted operating income decreased $197 million to an adjusted operating loss of $3 million. On a constant currency basis, adjusted operating income decreased $196 million. The estimated adverse COVID-19 impact on both operating income and adjusted operating income was approximately $300 million.
Pharmaceutical Wholesale had fourth quarter sales of $6.0 billion, an increase of 4.3 percent from the year-ago quarter. On a constant currency basis, sales increased 4.3 percent, led by emerging markets, Germany and France.
Operating income in the fourth quarter was $124 million, which included $57 million from the company’s equity earnings in AmerisourceBergen, compared with operating income of $129 million in the year-ago quarter, which included $59 million from the company’s equity earnings in AmerisourceBergen. Adjusted operating income increased 7.1 percent to $245 million, up 8.3 percent on a constant currency basis, mainly reflecting sales growth and cost management.
During the fourth quarter the WBA board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of 46.75 cents per share, an increase of 2.2 percent. The dividend was payable September 11, 2020 to stockholders of record as of August 19, 2020, and raised the annual rate from $1.83 per share to $1.87 per share. This marked the 45th consecutive year that WBA and its predecessor company, Walgreen Co., have raised the dividend, and the 87th year a dividend has been paid.
Walgreens Boots Alliance will hold a one-hour conference call to discuss the fourth quarter results beginning at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time today, October 15, 2020. The conference call will be simulcast through the Walgreens Boots Alliance investor relations website at: http://investor.walgreensbootsalliance.com. A replay of the conference call will be archived on the website for 12 months after the call.
The replay also will be available from 11:30 a.m. Eastern time, October 15, 2020 through October 22, 2020 by calling +1 800 585 8367 within the U.S. and Canada, or +1 416 621 4642 outside the U.S. and Canada, using replay code 6490979.
1 All references to earnings per share (EPS) are to diluted EPS attributable to Walgreens Boots Alliance.
2 Please see the “Supplemental Information (Unaudited) Regarding Non-GAAP Financial Measures” at the end of this press release for more detailed information regarding non-GAAP financial measures used, including all measures presented as “adjusted” or on a “constant currency” basis, and free cash flow.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements: All statements in this release that are not historical including, without limitation, those regarding estimates of and goals for future tax, financial and operating performance and results (including those under "Company Outlook," "Progress on Strategic Priorities” and "Looking Ahead" above), the expected execution and effect of our business strategies, the potential impacts on our business of the spread and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, our cost-savings and growth initiatives, pilot programs, strategic partnerships and initiatives, and restructuring activities and the amounts and timing of their expected impact and the delivery of annual cost savings are forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “expect,” “likely,” “outlook,” “forecast,” “preliminary,” “pilot,” “would,” “could,” “should,” “can,” “will,” “project,” “intend,” “plan,” “goal,” “guidance,” “target,” “aim,” “continue,” “sustain,” “synergy,” “transform,” “accelerate,” “model,” “long-term,” “on track,” “on schedule,” “headwind,” “tailwind,” “believe,” “seek,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “upcoming,” “to come,” “may,” “possible,” “assume,” and variations of such words and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions, known or unknown, that could cause actual results to vary materially from those indicated or anticipated, including, but not limited to, those relating to the spread and impacts of COVID-19, the impact of private and public third-party payers’ efforts to reduce prescription drug reimbursements, fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, the timing and magnitude of the impact of branded to generic drug conversions and changes in generic drug prices, our ability to realize synergies and achieve financial, tax and operating results in the amounts and at the times anticipated, the inherent risks, challenges and uncertainties associated with forecasting financial results of large, complex organizations in rapidly evolving industries, particularly over longer time periods, and during periods with increased volatility and uncertainties, our supply, commercial and framework arrangements and transactions with AmerisourceBergen and their possible effects, the risks associated with the company’s equity method investment in AmerisourceBergen, circumstances that could give rise to the termination, cross-termination or modification of any of our contractual obligations, the amount of costs, fees, expenses and charges incurred in connection with strategic transactions, whether the costs and charges associated with restructuring initiatives will exceed estimates, our ability to realize expected savings and benefits from cost-savings initiatives, restructuring activities and acquisitions and joint ventures in the amounts and at the times anticipated, the timing and amount of any impairment or other charges, the timing and severity of cough, cold and flu season, risks relating to looting and vandalism in regions in which we operate and the scope and magnitude of any property damage, inventory loss or other adverse impacts, risks related to pilot programs and new business initiatives and ventures generally, including the risks that anticipated benefits may not be realized, changes in management’s plans and assumptions, the risks associated with governance and control matters, the ability to retain key personnel, changes in economic and business conditions generally or in particular markets in which we participate, changes in financial markets, credit ratings and interest rates, the risks relating to the terms, timing, and magnitude of any share repurchase activity, the risks associated with international business operations, including the risks associated with the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union and international trade policies, tariffs, including tariff negotiations between the United States and China, and relations, the risks associated with cybersecurity or privacy breaches related to customer information, changes in vendor, customer and payer relationships and terms, including changes in network participation and reimbursement terms and the associated impacts on volume and operating results, changes in pharmaceutical manufacturers' pricing or distribution policies or practices, risks related to competition, including changes in market dynamics, participants, product and service offerings, retail formats and competitive positioning, risks associated with new business areas and activities, risks associated with acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures and strategic investments, including those relating to the asset acquisition from Rite Aid, the risks associated with the integration of complex businesses, the impact of regulatory restrictions and outcomes of legal and regulatory matters, and risks associated with changes in laws, including those related to the December 2017 U.S. tax law changes, regulations or interpretations thereof. These and other risks, assumptions and uncertainties are described in Item 1A (Risk Factors) of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2019, our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended May 31, 2020 and in other documents that we file or furnish with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those indicated or anticipated by such forward-looking statements. Accordingly, you are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made.
We do not undertake, and expressly disclaim, any duty or obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statement after the date of this release, whether as a result of new information, future events, changes in assumptions or otherwise.
Please refer to the supplemental information presented below for reconciliations of the non-GAAP financial measures used in this release to the most comparable GAAP financial measure and related disclosures.
Notes to Editors:
About Walgreens Boots Alliance
Walgreens Boots Alliance (Nasdaq: WBA) is a global leader in retail and wholesale pharmacy, touching millions of lives every day through dispensing and distributing medicines, and through its convenient retail locations, digital platforms and health and beauty products. The company has more than 100 years of trusted healthcare heritage and innovation in community pharmacy and pharmaceutical wholesaling.
Including equity method investments, WBA has a presence in more than 25 countries, employs more than 450,000 people and has more than 21,000 stores.
WBA’s purpose is to help people across the world lead healthier and happier lives. The company is proud of its contributions to healthy communities, a healthy planet, an inclusive workplace and a sustainable marketplace. WBA is a Participant of the United Nations Global Compact and adheres to its principles-based approach to responsible business.
WBA is included in FORTUNE’s 2020 list of the World’s Most Admired Companies*, ranked first in the food and drugstore category. This is the 27th consecutive year that WBA or its predecessor company, Walgreen Co., has been named to the list.
More company information is available at https://www.walgreensbootsalliance.com/.
*© 2020, Fortune Media IP Limited. Used under license.
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Source: Walgreens Boots Alliance
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