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Shire plc Message Board

  • blackoutbuzz blackoutbuzz Oct 25, 2012 11:33 PM Flag

    Good earnings and buyback

    but who cares right? Dermagraft is a minor blip that will get fixed no doubt. But no cares it seems. Oh well.

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    • I just went through the conference call. Excelllent. These guys are highly focused on the future of the business and growing returns to shareholders. Great to see.

      Share buyback - We're not going to just leave pile of money sitting in the bank for no good reason
      Graham Hetherington - Chief Financial Officer
      I just want to reinforce that we only contemplated the share buyback program in the context of our core strategy of investing in building this business, both organically and through acquisition. And our current cash position, our confidence in our cash generation, our borrowing capacity ensures that we've got total strategic flexibility to pursue that strategy even with this share buyback program.

      Angus C. Russell - Chief Executive Officer
      So in gross terms, our cash at the end of the quarter is actually standing at $1.3 billion, earning almost nothing today in today's interest rate environment less than 1% on $1.3 billion. That becomes highly dilutive to a company over time, so just sitting and amassing more cash, and it's our job to manage the entire business in shareholders' best interest.

      Dermagraft - You can't teach a dinosaur new tricks so replace them
      Angus C. Russell - Chief Executive Officer
      So really, if you remember the history of DERMAGRAFT, it was a product that was approved in the U.S. many years ago as a device, and it competes today against a lot of pressure wound dressings, et cetera, traditional bandages, pressure wound dressings. And so I would say the experience of the people who are initially hired was very much out of that device world because that's the world they were competing in. Yet it's very clear that things are tightening up all across this industry in regard to compliance, promotional practices, et cetera. Shire has got long experience of 2 things -- 2 or 3 things, I would say. One is good compliance. We've been used to this. We moved many years ago actually under Matt's leadership here. We've put in a compliance officer. We went through the entire therapeutic areas in our own traditional business and had to do a lot of retraining and education of reps to talk about the modern era that we live in, what's allowable, what's not allowed. Those standards are different, I would suggest, in the medical device world. I would describe it, they're a bit on capture. That was something we knew going into the acquisition.

      And we knew there would be a moment in time when we needed to effect that change. We've been doing that gradually. And what's happened this quarter is we just, having put now all our training materials together, really got to understand that business, got to understand the market in the past year. We put those 2 things together, Shire's experienced the understanding of what the market is today, but where it needs to go to, and that's why we're effecting change. And as I made the point, I know it's a bit disruptive for a couple of quarters in terms of having some softer numbers. It's small in the big picture of Shire's business, quite frankly, and we have every confidence that when we go back with reps out there, back into the field, fully trained in today's modern standards for doing business, we're going to get back on trend very quickly again next year. In regard -- I mean, we've let a few people go, and that's just the nature of the beast. We did that. There's nothing unusual. In other words, we did this in the previous years in Shire. We had some people who were dinosaurs, I'm afraid. You let a few people go because they're not going to change the past. And so there's been a bit of a change in letting a few reps go, and we've hired new reps to replace. So I imagine that over -- at the end of the day, a commercial team will be not changed significantly. It will be the same kind of numbers that we had going into this process. And at the same time, we've put a number of Shire's experienced zone managers and zone directors and regional directors in place in key territories, again, really to drive what I would say more of a cultural change. That's what this is about. There's a bit of obviously training, as I said, and that's why we're pulling the reps out of the field and training them in batches now. But a lot of this is also about culture tone from the top and just making sure, as I said earlier, we got a solid platform. And as we look forward to hopefully new indications like epidermolysis bullosa coming down the pike, then I want to make sure we've got a very solid platform and a compliant platform to work off in the future judged by modern standards. So that's what it's about.