Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=112355
Story Retrieval Date: 6/18/2013 9:12:51 PM CST
Shares of Abbott Laboratories jumped 6.3 percent Wednesday after the drug and medical device company posted a 28 percent increase in fourth-quarter net income thanks to strong worldwide pharmaceutical sales.
The north suburban Chicago company reported net income of $1.54 billion, or 98 cents per diluted share, compared with $1.2 billion, or 77 cents per diluted share, in the same quarter last year.
Sales rose 10 percent to $7.95 billion for the period ended Dec. 31, from $7.22 billion in the fourth quarter of 2007.
Abbott earned $1.06 per diluted share from continuing operations but excluding certain items in the most recent quarter. That amount matched the estimate of analysts polled by Zacks Investment Research Inc. The company had earnings from continuing operations, but excluding certain items, of 93 cents per diluted share in the year-ago period.
Abbott’s results showed the success of its diverse business, including biotechnology drugs, medical devices, and laboratory tests.
Pharmaceuticals, the company’s largest business by sales, saw a 10 percent worldwide sales increase to $4.61 billion. U.S. sales of Humira increased 42 percent to $751 million and global sales rose nearly 42 percent to $1.35 billion. The drug treats diseases such as rheumatoid and juvenile arthritis, as well as arthritis of the spine. Global sales of coronary stents, which are used to prop open damaged arteries, more than doubled during the quarter to $410 million. Abbott’s Xience coronary stent was introduced during the summer and is the market-leading drug-eluting stent in the U.S. and Europe.
"Although some investors question whether Abbott can retain its ‘growth’ label in 2009, we continue to believe its relative growth will warrant a premium,” Morgan Stanley analyst David Lewis said in a research note.
Scott E. Stoffel, a spokesman for Abbott, attributed the company’s strong numbers to the success of management in executing its strategy in all of its diverse sectors.
"Performance is driven by diversity of Abbott,” Stoffel said in a telephone interview. “That diversity has allowed us to perform exceptionally in a very difficult economic environment and in the face of generic competition.”
The company expects earnings per share of 69 cents to 71 cents for the first quarter, Stoffel said. The company backed its previous earnings-per-share guidance for 2009 of $3.65 to $3.70.
Abbott earned $4.88 billion, or $3.12 per diluted share, on sales of $29.53 billion in 2008. The company earned $3.6 billion, or $2.31 per diluted share, on sales of $25.91 billion in 2007. Abbott earned $3.32 per diluted share from continuing operations but excluding certain items last year, compared to $2.84 per diluted share in 2007.
"The strategic actions we’ve taken and our ongoing business momentum position Abbott to deliver continued double-digit growth in 2009,” Chief Executive Miles White said in the earnings press release.
Abbott’s stock closed at $52.32, up 6.3 percent from Tuesday’s close of $49.20.