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Abbott’s Third-Quarter Profit Beats Analyst Estimates

Abbott Laboratories
The Abbott Laboratories logo stands outside one of its facilities in Des Plaines, Illinois. The company raised its quarterly dividend by more than half, to 22 cents a share from 14 cents. Photographer: Tim Boyle/Bloomberg

Abbott Laboratories, which split into two companies this year, reported third-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates on increased demand for its diagnostic tests.

The company also raised its quarterly dividend by more than half, to 22 cents a share from 14 cents. Earnings excluding one-time items of 55 cents a share beat by 4 cents the average of 20 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Revenue increased 2 percent to $5.37 billion from a year earlier, the Abbott Park, Illinois-based company said in a statement today. The diagnostics area rose 11 percent, outperforming company expectations, Abbott said. Abbott was able to grab more diagnostics business especially in infectious disease testing, said Jeff Windau, an analyst at Edward Jones & Co. in St. Louis.

“All three diagnostics segments -- core lab, molecular and point of care -- they have all had good growth,” Windau said. “It’s broad-based.”

The company reiterated its 2013 earnings forecast of $1.98 to $2.04 a share. Profit from continuing operations more than doubled to $773 million, or 49 cents a share, from $339 million, or 21 cents, a year earlier, the company said.

Abbott shares rose 6.5 percent to $35.90 at 4:02 p.m. New York time. The stock has gained 15 percent this year.

The drug business was split off into a new company, AbbVie Inc., based in North Chicago, Illinois, on Jan. 1. Abbott retained the original company’s medical devices, nutritional products, diagnostic tests and generic drugs. AbbVie, which will report earnings on Oct. 25, kept the brand name drugs, including the best-selling Humira for rheumatoid arthritis.

Abbott’s third-quarter net income fell 50 percent to $966 million from a year earlier, when the company hadn’t yet divided in two.

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