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CVS raises annual COVID-related revenue forecast to $3 billion

FILE PHOTO: Illustration shows CVS Health logo

By Bhanvi Satija and Leroy Leo

(Reuters) - CVS Health Corp on Wednesday lifted its annual outlook for COVID-19-related revenue as it expects sales of over-the-counter coronavirus tests to more than double this year, sending shares up over 5%.

The largest U.S. pharmacy chain also raised its forecast for annual COVID vaccinations by 2 million to 20 million, reflecting the demand for more boosters.

Pharmacy chain operators such as CVS have benefited from distributing COVID vaccines and tests, but demand for lab tests and vaccinations has slowed in recent months as overall coronavirus cases in the United States remain steady.

CVS administered about 6 million COVID shots nationwide in the second quarter, Chief Executive Officer Karen Lynch said, sharply lower from over 20 million in the last quarter of 2021.

The company forecast annual COVID-related revenue of $3 billion, as it now expects sales to drop by about a third compared with its earlier forecast of a two-thirds slump.

CVS also raised its adjusted profit outlook to $8.40-$8.60 per share from $8.20-$8.40 per share after its second-quarter earnings beat Wall Street estimates.

The outlook, especially for its insurance business, is conservative for the second half the year due to COVID-related uncertainty, Evercore analysts Elizabeth Anderson and Michael Newshel said in a note.

Excluding one-off items, the company reported quarterly earnings per share of $2.40 compared with analysts' average estimate of $2.17, as per Refinitiv IBES data.

(By Leroy Leo and Bhanvi Satija in Bengaluru and Caroline Humer in New York; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)