April 17 Abbott Laboratories on
Wednesday reported higher quarterly earnings after splitting off
its branded drug business, and the company said demand was
strong for its infant formulas and diagnostic products.
But first-quarter sales slumped for medical devices and
generic prescription drugs, which together represent half of the
Abbott, whose shares rose nearly 3 percent, reported a
quarterly profit of $544 million, or 34 cents per share, from
continuing operations, compared with $351 million, or 22 cents
per share, a year earlier.
Excluding a tax benefit and other special items, the
suburban Chicago company earned 42 cents per share. Analysts on
average had expected 41 cents per share, according to Thomson
"This looks like a solid start to 2013," said Stifel
Nicolaus & Co analyst Rick Wise, who described results as
"in-line" with expectations.
Sales rose 1.8 percent to $5.38 billion, slightly below Wall
Street expectations of $5.41 billion.
Abbott at the beginning of the year spun off its array of
branded drugs, those that still have patent protection, into a
new company called AbbVie Inc. In doing so, it gave up
Humira, a $9 billion-a-year treatment for rheumatoid arthritis
that for years had been its cash cow.
Sales of Abbott's nutritional products, including its
Similac infant formula, rose 8.7 percent to $1.7 billion, with
about 45 percent of revenue coming from China and other emerging
Abbott Chief Executive Officer Miles White said emerging
markets, which have growing numbers of middle-class customers,
were a linchpin of demand for its products.
"Even a bad day in an emerging market looks better than a
good day in a developed market," White said in a conference call
Sales of diagnostic products rose 4.4 percent to $1.09
billion, but would have been up 6.4 percent if not for the
stronger dollar, which lowers the value of sales in overseas
markets. Abbott cited strong demand in China, Russia, Brazil and
other emerging markets.
But sales of medical devices fell 4.6 percent to $1.33
billion, with revenue from stents and related vascular products
down almost 8 percent to $742 million due largely to price
pressures in the United States. Medical optics and diabetes
products showed modest declines.
Abbott said sales of generic drugs, which it calls
established pharmaceuticals, declined 1.9 percent to $1.23
The company said it still expected full-year earnings of
$1.98 to $2.04 per share, excluding special items.
Shares of Abbott were up 2.7 percent at $37.40 in morning