Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc beat analysts' estimates for adjusted quarterly profit on Thursday, driven by higher sales at its retail pharmacy stores and higher prescription volumes, sending its shares up 3.4% in premarket trading.
The company has taken a number of steps to boost profit after the COVID-19 pandemic hammered sales and forced it to cut jobs, shut some UK-based Boots stores and sell its distribution unit to AmerisourceBergen Corp for $6.5 billion.
Excluding items, the company earned $1.22 per share, while analysts were expecting a profit of $1.03 per share, according to Refinitiv IBES.
Net loss attributable to Walgreens was $308 million, or 36 cents per share, in the first quarter ended 30 November, compared with a profit of $845 million, or 95 cents per share, a year earlier.
Revenue rose to $36.31 billion from $34.34 billion.
US drug wholesaler AmerisourceBergen Corp said on Wednesday it would buy Walgreens Boots Alliance's distribution business for $6.5 billion to expand in Europe as well as to compete better in the US healthcare sector.
The deal will help Walgreens focus more on core pharmacy unit and its retail business, where sales have tanked due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a nearly 30% slump in shares in 2020.
AmerisourceBergen will get access to Alliance Healthcare, one of the largest distributors in Europe that has weathered the impact of the global health crisis.