Ascend Capital Opens New Position in Gilead Sciences



Ascend Capital and Gilead Sciences

Ascend Capital started a new position in Gilead Sciences (GILD). The fund bought 513,858 shares worth $48 million. According to the latest 13F filings for 4Q14, it accounts for 1.86% of the hedge fund’s total portfolio.

Gilead has 0.84% exposure to the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) and the iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (IVV). The ETF tracks the performance of 500 publicly listed companies in the “growth” sector.

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About Gilead Sciences

Gilead Sciences is a research-based biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops, and commercializes innovative medicines for life-threatening illnesses around the world. Gilead’s primary focus areas include:

  • HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)
  • liver diseases such as chronic HBV (Hepatitis B virus) infection and chronic HCV (Hepatitis C virus) infection
  • oncology and inflammation
  • serious cardiovascular and respiratory conditions

Gilead Sciences announced 4Q14 results

In February 2015, Gilead announced its 4Q14 results. It reported revenue of $7.3 billion. This was a significant 137% increase compared to $3.1 billion for 4Q13. Net income for 4Q14 was $3.5 billion, or $2.18 per diluted share—compared to $791 million, or $0.47 per diluted share, for 4Q13.

Revenue for financial year 2014 was $24.9 billion—compared to $11.2 billion for 2013. This was an increase of 127%. The net income for 2014 was $12.1 billion, or $7.35 per diluted share—compared to $3.1 billion, or $1.81 per diluted share, for 2013.

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Gilead’s management said, “The past year was marked by the launch of our first oncology product, second HCV medication, and regulatory filings for the next generation HIV medicine, E/C/F/TAF, and a doubling of product revenues relative to 2013. We are entering 2015 with financial strength, a portfolio of 19 marketed products that are addressing significant unmet medical needs and a pipeline for which we expect a number of milestones and data readouts during the coming year.”

Gilead’s dividend and share buyback program

In February 2015, Gilead announced that its board of directors authorized a dividend program. The company will pay quarterly dividends of $0.43 per share starting in 2Q15. The board of directors also approved share repurchase of up to $15 billion of the firm’s common stock.

Stock performance

Gilead had returns of 37.83% in the last 12 months. It had higher stock returns than GlaxoSmithKline Plc. (GSK) and Pfizer (PFE). GlaxoSmithKline had a return of -14.57%. In the same period, Pfizer returned 6.84% to common equity shareholders.

In the next part of this series, we’ll discuss Ascend Capital’s position in PVH Corp.


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