Virbac Declines Most Since 1989 on Quarterly Sales: Paris Mover

Virbac SA fell the most in more than 23 years after the French maker of medicines for animals posted weaker-than-expected first-quarter sales.

The shares plunged 12 percent, the biggest drop since they began trading in 1989, to 157.40 euros in Paris today. The slide pared the Carros, France-based company’s advance to 5 percent this year.

Virbac, which makes animal vaccines and health-care products for pets, said yesterday its first-quarter sales climbed 3.6 percent to 182.8 million euros ($240 million). That’s “10 percent below forecasts,” Laurent Gelebart and Vincent Meunier, analysts at Exane BNP Paribas in Paris, wrote in a note to clients today, cutting their share-price estimate to 146 euros from 150 euros.

“One quarter does not make a trend, but in view of Virbac’s stretched valuation we expect a negative share-price reaction,” the analysts wrote.

Excluding acquisitions, revenue dropped 2.3 percent in the quarter, Virbac said in yesterday’s statement. That’s the first negative quarter of organic sales growth for the company since the first three months of 2005, according to the Exane analysts. Virbac said difficult economies in the Mediterranean region and exchange rates were among the reasons for a slow performance.

The company was founded in 1968 by French veterinarian Pierre-Richard Dick. The Dick family owns a 50 percent stake.

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