The CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) share price has had a disappointing last couple of weeks, dragged down 9% with the broader ASX market slump in early March.
This comes despite the company posting an impressive set of numbers from its half-year results in February.
Below, we take a closer look at CSL’s most recent update and how brokers view the global biotech’s shares.
How did CSL perform for the first-half?
In its results, CSL reported that COVID-19 had temporarily impacted CSL Behring’s performance during the first half of 2021 while boosting its Seqirus business. Despite the difference, both segments saw an increase in earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of 24% and 112%, respectively.
This led to a surge of net profit after tax (NPAT) of $1,810 million, a jump of 44% over the prior corresponding period.
The company stated that global demand for its therapies remained strong, particularly with significant growth in seasonal influenza vaccines. The latter is due to the COVID-19 pandemic driving high rates of people getting protected from the flu.
What were the challenges?
While the results themselves were positive, CSL revealed that it continued to face some challenges.
The company advised that plasma collections remained an issue as restrictions on passenger movements affected blood donations through its collection centres.
In the United States, CSL has moved to reach out to donors through targeted marketing initiatives. This includes turning to social media influencers to encourage giving blood, as well as increased monetary incentives.
Collection volumes at the end of last year stood at 80% when compared against December 2019.
In addition, CSL had to re-prioritise some R&D projects, such as halting its efforts to develop a COVID-19 vaccine with the University of Queensland.
It found that during its Phase 1 trial, patients who were undertaking the vaccine candidate were registering as false positives on HIV tests. In light of this, the company decided not to proceed with further phase 2/3 trials.
After reporting its first-half results, several brokers rated the company with varying price points.
The Swiss investment firm UBS cut its price target for CSL by 2.7% to $330.00. Morgan Stanley followed suit to also reduce their rating by 2.5% to $276.00, then upgraded in March to an add rating with a $301.10 price target.
According to a note out of Citi, its analysts have upgraded the biotech giant’s shares to a buy rating with a $310.00 price target
The most recent broker note came from Macquarie last week, which has initiated a price of $288.00 for the biotech.
At the time of writing, the CSL share price is sitting at $261.81, up 2.33% for today.
CSL share price review
Over the past 12 months, the CSL share price has lost around 6%, mostly from its year-to-date performance.
The company’s shares moved sideways for much of the period before plummeting on its latest results release. It’s worth noting that its shares today are priced the same as when they were back in November 2019.