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Abbott Forecasts 2013 Earnings That Meets Analyst Estimates

Jan. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Abbott Laboratories, the medical device and nutritional products maker, forecast 2013 earnings in line with analyst estimates after splitting off its drug business this month.

Full-year profit excluding one-time items may be $1.98 to $2.04 a share, Abbott Park, Illinois-based Abbott said in a statement today. Analysts estimate annual earnings of $1.96, according to the average of 23 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Abbott, which also sells diagnostic tests and generic medicines, separated the drug division into a new company on Jan. 1.

Sales from the businesses that comprise the new Abbott were strong, particularly nutritional products and diagnostics, said Jeff Jonas, co-portfolio manager of the Gabelli Healthcare & Wellness Trust fund. The combined company posted sales of $10.8 billion in the quarter, up from $10.4 billion a year earlier.

“The fourth quarter was pretty strong across the board,” Jonas said in a telephone interview. “The guidance was ahead of what most on the Street was looking for, potentially beating $2 a share if they come in at the high end of guidance.”

Earnings excluding one-time items of $1.51 a share beat by 1 cent the consensus estimate due to stronger than expected sales, said Danielle Antalffy, an analyst at Leerink Swann & Co. in New York.

The company today reported fourth-quarter profit declined 35 percent in its last quarter as a consolidated company, due to costs related to Abbott’s separation of its drug unit and discharge of debt. Net income decreased to $1.05 billion, or 66 cents a share, from $1.6 billion, or $1.02, a year earlier.

Abbott fell less than 1 percent to $32.81 at 4 p.m. in New York trading. AbbVie Inc., the new North Chicago, Illinois-based drug company spun off from Abbott, rose 3.8 percent to $37.80.

AbbVie, which sells the rheumatoid arthritis medicine Humira and the other prescription drugs, is scheduled to announce its earnings forecast on a Jan. 30 conference call.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michelle Fay Cortez in Minneapolis at mcortez@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at Rgale5@bloomberg.net

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