Abbott sales, profit propped up by St. Jude acquisition

Diversified healthcare company Abbott Laboratories reported higher-than-expected quarterly sales and profit on Wednesday, driven by its $25 billion acquisition of St. Jude Medical.

Shares of Abbott, which also maintained its 2017 forecast, were up 1.2 percent at $43.99 in premarket trading.

Net sales of the company, which consummated its acquisition of St. Jude Medical in January, rose 3.2 percent on an operational basis to $6.34 billion, ahead of the average analyst estimate of $6.15 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

While sales in its diagnostics, medical devices and branded generic pharmaceuticals divisions grew in the first quarter ended March 31, Abbott’s nutrition business continued to suffer.

Global nutrition sales dipped 1 percent on an operational basis to $1.64 billion, hurt mainly by continuing challenging conditions in the Chinese infant formula market.

Excluding items, Abbott earned 48 cents per share, beating the average analyst estimate by 5 cents.

Net profit from continuing operations came in at $843 million, or 22 cents per share, in the quarter, compared with $615 million, or 4 cents per share, a year earlier. The results also reflect St. Jude’s year-over-year results.

Last week, Abbott agreed to buy troubled diagnostics company Alere Inc at a lower price of around $5.30 billion, down from the about $5.80 billion previously announced, ending a prolonged legal battle.

The deal ran into trouble within months of being announced in February, after issues related to Alere’s accounting and sales practices came to light.

Both companies ended up suing each other last year, with Alere forcing Abbott to move ahead with the deal, and Abbott wanting to pull out.

The revised deal is expected to close in the third quarter, and help Abbott expand in point-of-care diagnostic testing, a market that is growing as physicians increasingly adopt rapid tests that speed up treatment.

(Reporting by Akankshita Mukhopadhyay in Bengaluru; Editing by Martina D’Couto)

Read More at Reuters

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