What's going on?
American pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly looks to be in fine health. Not only did it report second-quarter results that eclipsed expectations, it announced plans to let its animal health business off the leash – and investors hounded the stock 2% higher.
What does this mean?
Lilly’s sales were a pleasant surprise and the company increased its own projections for the year’s profit. But the news that really sent investors chasing their tails was when Lilly announced it would be spinning off part of its animal health business – which has been something of a tortoise to the rest of the company’s hare in recent times. It’ll sell less than 20% to the public at first (via an initial public offering) and plans to dispose of the rest over time.
Why should I care?
For markets: Lilly might grow even more quickly in the future.
Last year, the amount of money Lilly brought in from treatments for humans grew by 10% while sales from products for animals shrunk by 3% – trends which have continued this year – so it probably makes sense for Lilly to cut the umbilical cord. The slowdown in the company’s animal health section is somewhat surprising given that Americans are spending more than ever on their furry friends and that other companies, like Mars and General Mills, are buying pet businesses rather than getting rid of them. Lilly, meanwhile, is making like Nestlé and Unilever and offloading what’s not working for it.
The bigger picture: Sometimes running in a pack’s just as good as splitting apart.
Breaking up is hard to do, so Swiss investment bank UBS didn’t. Instead, it combined its US and international wealth management businesses (money management services for the uber-rich). Together, the combined business now manages some $2.4 trillion – that’s over twelve times the size of New Zealand’s economy. The merger allowed UBS to cut costs and say cheese to investor expectations for the second quarter as it breezed on by them.