Merrill Cuts Genzyme General to 'Near-Term Buy'

Analyst Eric Hecht says the drug maker reduced its guidance amid lower than expected sales of Renagel

Merrill Lynch downgraded Genzyme General (GENZ ) to near-term and long-term buy from strong buy.

Analyst Eric Hecht says guidance was lowered due to significantly lower than expected Renagel sales. He says the news follows published guidance for 2002 about a month ago. He thinks some type of change in manufacturing of Renagel, and a desire to lower inventory levels from 12 to six weeks may have occurred since the company's last guidance.

Hecht says he believes momentum in Renagel about to slow down a bit, although the company still is reiterating its $260 million to $280 million 2002 guidance. He notes Genzyme also is keeping its 25% 2002 earnings per share growth forcast. Hecht sees $1.44 2002 EPS, and $1.75 for 2003.

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