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Abbott Labs beats profit forecasts

Wednesday, April 16 15:24:58

Abbott Laboratories, which has a major presence in Ireland, today reported better-than-expected earnings in the first quarter.

The company said it earned $375 million, or 24 cents per share in the three months ended March 31. That compared with $544 million, or 34 cents per share, a year earlier, when Abbott took charges for licensing and acquisitions.

Excluding special charges, Abbott earned 41 cents per share. Analysts, on average, were expecting 36 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company said it could not immediately detail the reasons why it beat earnings forecasts in the quarter.

Shares rose 1.4 percent in pre-market trading to $38.50. The stock closed Tuesday at $37.97 on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company reaffirmed it expects full-year 2014 earnings from continuing operations, excluding special items, of $2.16 to $2.26 per share. It had provided the forecast earlier this year.

Its adult nutrition business saw international sales rise 12 percent operationally, driven by strong growth in Ensure and expansion of the adult nutrition market. The company launched Eleva infant formula in China, which is manufactured at its nutrition facility in Cootehill, Co. Cavan.

In eye care, it said that 10 percent global operational sales growth was driven by strong cataract performance that outpaced the global market. In Japan, it expanded its cataract product line with the introductions of the TECNIS Toric and TECNIS OptiBlue Preloaded intraocular lenses.

Operational sales at its diagnostics business were up 5 percent globally, as several health systems selected Abbott's integrated, flexible testing solutions to manage large testing volumes and increase operational efficiencies.

Looking at its vascular business, it said it received U.S. FDA approval of its Supera peripheral stent system to treat people with blocked blood vessels in the upper leg caused by peripheral artery disease.

Abbott also completed enrollment in its randomised Absorb bioresorbable vascular scaffold clinical trials in the U.S., China and Japan. Ex-US sales (which account for 65pc of Abbott's vascular total sales) increased 3.7 per cent operationally, driven by continued share gains by a few key medical devices including XIENCE Xpedition drug-eluting stent, which is manufactured at its vascular facility in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary.

In Ireland, Abbott employs almost 3,000 people across 11 sites.