Abbott Breakup Plans Are on Target as Profit Tops Estimates

Abbott Says Breakup Plans On Target as Profit Tops Estimates
The logo for Abbott Laboratories sits atop a tower at the company's headquarters in Abbott Park, Illinois. Photographer: Tim Boyle/Bloomberg

Abbott Laboratories, splitting into a drugmaker and a diversified health-care business, reported earnings that beat analysts’ estimates and raised its 2012 forecast as sales jumped more than expected for its top product.

First-quarter revenue climbed 4.6 percent to $9.46 billion in the quarter, the Abbott Park, Illinois-based company said in a statement today. Humira, an autoimmune drug, gained about 17 percent to $1.93 billion, beating the $1.85 billion average of four analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Chief Executive Officer Miles White said in October he would split Abbott in two, with one company focused on new drugs and the other on medical devices, generic medicines and nutritional drinks. The company has said the breakup would be completed by the end of this year.

“We remain focused on the process of separating Abbott into two leading health care companies, which remains on track to be completed by the end of the year,” White said in the statement today.

Net income rose to $1.24 billion, or 78 cents a share, from $864 million, or 55 cents, a year earlier, when the company took charges for acquisitions and an accounting change. Earnings excluding one-time items were $1.03 a share, beating the $1 average estimate of 18 analysts compiled by Bloomberg.

The company increased its 2012 earnings forecast to $5 and $5.10 a share from a January projection of $4.95 to $5.05 a share. That compares with an average estimate of $5.01 by 21 analysts, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The pharmaceutical side of Abbott faces emerging competition for Humira, the autoimmune drug that is the company’s top seller. It also has experimental therapies for the treatment of hepatitis C, and is in a race with drugmakers including Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Gilead Sciences Inc. to develop new methods of treatment for the virus.

Abbott rose less than 1 percent to $60.46 at the close of New York trading.


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