The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:BioMarin Pharmaceutical, Sanofi, Mondelez International, Kraft Foods Group and PepsiCo

CHICAGO, Feb. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include the BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (Nasdaq: BMRN-Free Report), Sanofi (NYSE: SNY-Free Report), Mondelez International Inc. (Nasdaq: MDLZ-Free Report), Kraft Foods Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: KRFT-Free Report) and PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE: PEP-Free Report).

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Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:

Strong 2014 Sales Guidance from BioMarin

Buoyed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) approval of Vimizim for treating mucopolysaccharidosis type IVA (MPS IVA), BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (Nasdaq: BMRN-Free Report) announced that it expects its total revenues in 2014 to increase by more than 20% over 2013 levels ($548.5 million). The biopharmaceutical company expects 2014 revenues in the range of $650–$680 million.

BioMarin expects 2014 Vimizim sales in the range of $60–$70 million. Vimizim is the fifth member of BioMarin's product portfolio. The other marketed products of the company are Naglazyme, Kuvan, Aldurazyme and Firdapse. BioMarin co-markets Aldurazyme with Sanofi (NYSE: SNY-Free Report).

The company is looking to get Vimizim approved in other markets as well including the EU. BioMarin expects an opinion from the European Medicines Agency's (EMA) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) on Vimizim shortly.

Within a couple of months of the CHMP's opinion, a final decision from the EC should be out. European approval of the drug would boost its sales potential as the U.S. market accounts for only approximately 15% of the total MPS IVA market according to the company.

BioMarin said that the list price associated with each Vimizim vial is $1068. The company is leaving no stone unturned to launch Vimizim effectively. Strong Vimizim sales are expected to help the company record total revenues in excess of $1 billion for the next few years.

BioMarin, which will release its fourth quarter and full year financial (audited) results shortly, also came out with preliminary results. Total revenues in the final quarter of 2013 climbed 11.4% to $146.9 million driven by strong product sales.

Naglazyme sales climbed 9% to $68.7 million. Kuvan registered fourth quarter sales of $45.3 million, up 13.3%. Aldurazyme and Firdapse recorded sales of $25.9 million and $4.3 million, respectively, in the final quarter of 2013.

BioMarin maintained its 2013 guidance on cost items. Selling, general & administrative expenses are still expected in the range of $220–$240 million and research & development expenses continue to be forecasted in the range of $340–$380 million.

Mondelez Details Margin Growth Plans

Mondelez International Inc. (Nasdaq: MDLZ-Free Report) recently updated its long-term growth targets and detailed its margin improvement plans at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York (CAGNY) conference.

Mondelez's long-term targets include organic sales growth at or above the category growth rate, adjusted operating margin growth in the range of 14–16% and double-digit earnings growth. While the operating margin and earnings growth guidance remain unchanged, the organic sales growth outlook was revised from 5–7% expected previously.

Last week, the consumer food company announced dismal fourth-quarter 2013 results, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate for both earnings and revenues due to category challenges and slowdown in emerging markets. In fact, the Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company has been under pressure and reported disappointing quarterly results ever since its separation from Kraft Foods Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: KRFT-Free Report) in Oct 2012.

Weak biscuit sales in China, continued headwinds from coffee pricing and slower global category growth hurt revenues in the second half of 2013. Moreover, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Irene Rosenfeld, admitted at the CAGNY conference that Mondelez's "margins were lower than peers."

Also, Mondelez has been criticized for its profits/margins by activist investor Nelson Peltz in the past. Peltz joined Mondelez's board of directors in Jan 2014, putting an end to his agenda of pushing food and beverage giant, PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE: PEP-Free Report) to take over Mondelez.

In order to grow its operating margins from 12% in fiscal 2013 to 14–16% by 2016, the company plans to accelerate cost savings and improve productivity.

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