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Animal Health News & Notes for March 6, 2009 3/6/2009

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Brakke Consulting's
Animal Health News & Notes for March 6, 2009

Copyright © Brakke Consulting, Inc.
Editor: Lynn Fondon, DVM, MBA
earnings news
other news
Fort Dodge
MMI Genomics
Pilgrim's Pride
Spectrum Brands
Veterinary Cancer Therapeutics
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> Bayer reported results for the full year 2008.  The Animal Health division recorded revenues of EUR 963 million ($1,357 million), an increase of 1% compared to the prior year. On a currency-adjusted basis, the business expanded by 6%. (company website) 
> Genus plc announced its results for the six months ended December 31, 2008.  Revenue from continuing operations were GBP 140 million ($203 million), an increase of 16% compared to the comparable period in the prior year. Adjusted profit before tax from continuing operations rose by 24% to GBP 17.2 million ($25 million). (company website)
> PetSmart, Inc. reported net income of $193 million for the full fiscal year 2008 ended February 1, 2009, a decrease of 25% compared to the prior fiscal year. PetSmart generated $5.07 billion in net sales in the 52-week fiscal 2008 compared to $4.67 billion in the prior 53-week year. Comparable store sales grew 4% in 2008. (company website)  
> Fort Dodge announced the signing of a commercial license agreement to use Vivalis' EB66 cell line for the production of several veterinary vaccines.  Terms were not disclosed. (company press release) 
> MMI Genomics announced that it now offers a genetic test that will screen for Arthrogryposis Multiplex (AM) or Curly Calf Syndrome, a defect that is afflicting cattle lines within Angus and Angus cross-bred populations in the US and elsewhere. (company website)
> Spectrum Brands, parent of United Pet Group, announced it has filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 in the US Bankruptcy Court.  The plan calls for extinguishing existing common stock, as well as canceling existing bond obligations of $1.05 billion.  The noteholders would receive new bonds equal to 20% of the unpaid principal and interest on existing bonds plus shares of new common stock. (Pet Product News) 
> Berwind Corp. announced that it has combined its Wellness, Old Mother Hubbard, Eagle Pack and Holistic Select brands under one company: WellPet.  (Pet Product News)
> Imulan BioTherapeutics announced it has formed a new company, Veterinary Cancer Therapeutics, to advance the company's comparative veterinary oncology programs and commercialize several new immune activating technologies for treatment of cancer in dogs, cats and horses.  Veterinary Cancer Therapeutics will provide veterinarians access to their technology platforms by creating a treatment network. (company press release)
> Pilgrim's Pride, which is reorganizing under bankruptcy protection, announced it would idle three US chicken processing plants and lay off 3,000 workers, reducing its production by as much as 10%. Shuttering the three plants, which are slated to close by mid-May, is expected to generate savings of $110 million a year. (Meating Place)
> US - FEDERAL VETERINARIAN SHORTAGE   The US Office of Personnel Management announced that there is an extreme shortage of federal veterinarians. Currently, four federal agencies that employ veterinarians have identified existing or potential shortages of individuals to fill veterinary positions: the Agricultural Research Service; the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service; and the Food Safety and Inspection Services; and the Department of the Army. (ohmygov.com)
>  US - ONLINE PHARMACY CERTIFICATION   The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy launched a veterinary version of the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) program to accredit online pharmacies that dispense prescription drugs for companion animals and horses. The NABP created Vet-VIPPS partly in response to concerns from state pharmacy boards that have received complaints about online veterinary pharmacies dispensing prescription drugs outside a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship. (AVMA)
MAY 12-13, 2009
The Animal Agriculture Alliance's Eighth Annual Stakeholders Summit will be held May 12-13, 2009 in Alexandria, Virginia.  This year's topic is Politics, Activism and Religion: Influencing the Debate on Animal Welfare in America.
For more information please go to www.animalagalliance.org
What an interesting time in our industry!!  The stock market seems to be in free fall and companies continue to reduce staff to adjust to the current recessionary conditions.
We had been waiting for the PetSmart year-end report as an indication of what is happening in the companion animal market.  It was not a strong report when one takes into account the inflationary aspects of the business.  The next major benchmark will be when public animal health companies begin reporting the middle of April. 
We continue to believe that the animal health business will experience some reduced unit volume and low to no growth in sales numbers.  It will be interesting to see if the price increases that were taken recently will hold in the marketplace. We believe we can say with some confidence that our industry is not going to suffer as much as the auto, housing and banking industry, but the weakness in these important sectors will spill over into animal health. 
We hope all of you will continue to market aggressively to maximize what opportunities do exist in 2009!
Have a great weekend!!
Ron Brakke
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