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Pfizer and UPS Reveal Q4 Earnings

Pfizer and UPS have each reported 2020 Q4 earnings in announcements made this week. Signs were good for both firms as they both reported positive news, due in some part to them collaborating to provide vaccinations across the country.

Pfizer, the first company to receive emergency use authorization from the US government for a Covid-19 vaccine, shared details of a small fourth quarter profit. The profit comes as the pharmaceutical firm began to distribute its vaccines globally.

The drug maker has announced that it expects to net around $15 billion this year in revenue from the vaccine, which won emergency clearance in December from US regulators and continues to receive government approval across the world.

“Through our collaboration with BioNTech, we delivered the world’s first breakthrough COVID-19 vaccine in less than a year,” Pfizer’s CEO Albert Bourler said during the company’s earnings call.  

“And by harnessing the power of a variety of digital capabilities, we made sure that despite the lockdowns and travel restrictions, we continue to serve patients around the world who rely on our medicines and vaccines.”

Pfizer’s two-dose vaccine has been shown to have around 95% efficacy and is one of only a few available to help get the global pandemic under control. A large increase in medicine sales offset the firm’s big increases in spending on research and production.

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The New York company is continuing to manufacture hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccine, as well as persisting with detailed research, such as gauging the shot’s effectiveness in different patient groups, for example teens and people with compromised immune systems.

“Despite this challenging environment and the incredible amount of resources we devoted to develop a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine, we generated 8% operational revenue growth for the year from our core biopharmaceutical product portfolio, excluding the revenue impact from Consumer Healthcare and excluding 154 million in sales of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine that were recorded in the first quarter,” Bourler continued.

“Keep in mind that this 8% operation growth includes a negative 2% impact due to the slowdown in macroeconomic and healthcare activity resulting from the pandemic.

“Overall, we had a strong year, which positions us well as we begin to operate as one global focused biopharmaceutical company, which I have envisioned for the past several years.”

For United Parcel Service (UPS), it was a surge in online shopping that helped the firm post positive Q4 earnings results. UPS’ last three months of 2020 actually saw them post record revenue, with the delivery industry seeing an improvement as a whole as more people shop online during the pandemic.

“For the fourth quarter of 2020, gap results included a non-cash, after-tax, mark-to-market pension charge of $4.9 billion, an after-tax transformation charge of $114 million, and an after-tax impairment charge of $545 million related to the company’s decision to sell UPS freight,” UPS CEO Carol Tome said.

“Looking at the fourth quarter, our results were strong and considerably better than we expected. Consolidated revenue in the quarter rose 21% from last year, to $24.9 billion. And operating profit grew 26% from last year, to $2.9 billion. This is the highest quarterly operating profit in the company’s history, with record profit produced in each segment. For the year, UPS generated record revenue of $84.6 billion, with growth in all three segments. We increased operating profit by 7%, to $8.7 billion. And we generated diluted earnings per share of $8.23, an increase of 9.3%”

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The Atlanta-based company also started shipping Covid-19 vaccines in the fourth quarter, another reason for the positive performance. To keep up with demand, thousands more workers were hired and space across the country needed to be found for the vaccines, which need to be kept in deep freezers.

UPS reported that the daily average number of packages it delivered in the quarter rose by more than 10%. CEO Carol Tome has said that she expects the pandemic-fuelled online shopping habits to persist even when the pandemic is under control and more stores reopen.

“And thus far, we have provided above 99% service for vaccine delivery. Looking back to 2020, we laid a strong foundation for future success. On my first earnings call in July, I mentioned that we were operationalizing our strategy,” Tome continued.

“Customer first, people-led, innovation-driven, through a better, not bigger framework. We are making solid progress. From a customer first perspective, speed and enabling capabilities are very important. Our goal is to provide the best digital experience powered by our smart global logistics network.

“These efforts, coupled with a relentless focus on productivity and effective capital allocation, should result in both operating margin expansion and higher return on invested capital in 2021. But until we have more certainty with the economic environment, we are not providing revenue or earnings per share guidance.”

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