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While I appreciate your perspective basically
your are just fueling rumors and heresay. I worked at
Abbott for 5 years before heading back to get my MBA. It
is a great company that knows how to make things
happen. I have some intelligence (one of top 125 CPA exam
scores in the nation), my wife worked there too (and did
**quite** well there).
While there might be problems
with select employees I guarantee you will find that
with **any** company. I have **never** heard or
witnessed a manager at Abbott referring to minorities with
slurs (and I am white).
If this company is
filled with people who are "not on the ball", then why
is Abbott consistently rated as one of the world's
best managed companies?
In terms of personal
behavior the company was the most conservative place I
have ever worked for. Sure, people might go to a happy
hour now and then after work.
The bottom line
is that YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT.
My wife and I have absolutely NO REGRETS about
working there. The experience we gained there was
extremely valuable. I am even considering going back there
once I get my MBA. I know I won't be disappointed if
and when I do.
Please read my other detailed post. Please
provide a recent reference (1999 or 2000) that Abbott
with Miles White is "one of the world's best managed
company's". Abbott was well managed at the top with Mr.
Burnham in place. I long for the days when I made a
bundle off the stock.
A lot of people say Abbott was better managed
under Burnham. There are a lot of things they haven't
Burnham was a heavy micro manager, along with his comrade
Tom Hodgson. Their decisions were strictly
financially driven. Basically they were so conservative that
the problems the company is having now are because of
their lack of enthusiasm for investment opportunities.
They milked the products they had for the time, such
as Hytrin and Biaxin but did not fight hard enough
for other new products. Then Biaxin got passed up by
some new antibiotics that had better usage profiles
(shorter no. of doses, some cheapter), and Hytrin's patent
finally expired for good and is getting killed by
generics. All Hodgson and Burnham tried to do was buy off
the generic competitors which worked for about a year
or so. They milked the Ensure adult beverage to the
point that private label brands started to appear.
Nothing new to replace the lost sales. Abbokinase is off
the market due to some mfg. issues wtih the FDA.
Problem? It's a 20+ year old drug with a mfg. process that
the FDA is no longer comfortable with. ADD's mfg.
problems with the FDA are no doubt the result of some
ancient mfg. techniques that have come about as a result
of very conservative investments in infrastructure.
There were some successes, too, such as the
introduction of Norvir (AIDS drug) but overall you can see
what was happening.
See a pattern here?
Basically Burnham and Hodgson didn't want to make the
necessary investments. They had something good going but it
takes more than that. You gotta stay one step ahead of
the competition not just look back at once-was. As a
result Abt has been passed up or gotten into trouble on
a lot of major fronts.
Miles White took over
in 1999. He has signed a great many deals, options
on new compounds, etc. You can't expect immediate
paybacks on those things. He is trying to catch up with
the company being behind the curve in the investment
frontier. It will catch up. He might be paying too much for
these opportunities, who knows.
But don't look
back at Burnham and Hodgson and say that they knew how
to manage things. Their approach was a classic short
term strategy which has run its course--it was time
for something new. Everyone at Abbott knew it was
time for Burnham and Hodgson to go. At least they had
the fortitude to put together an orderly succession
One other thing--as far as employee relations the
climate has been much better under Miles White compared
to Burnham & Co. This is a mild surprise since White
was considered such a competititive figure.
the way, don't forget that nearly every major
healthcare stock got burned pretty badly in 1999. There's a
lot of sector rotation issues going on that helps
explain the share price.
Your string of posts show a very unhappy
shareholder - why not just sell? I love buying at lower
prices. Or is it that you can't find an alternative or
are too far under water from your cost
Making a bundle off of ABT? Hardly. There were (from
'90-'98 prior to market fundamentals turning into
fantasy) much better drug stocks to hold for price
appreciation than ABT.
Your posts about internal
politics are best left to the actual insiders themselves -
when and if they chose to speak. And there are many
different expressions from them - I think depending upon
their division of origin.
As far as Burnham was
concerned - he was the beneficiary of a VERY kind market
and was quite risk averse in his investment choices.
A very unkind market is in play today and requires
a very different kind of manager. Granted the
$100MM fine is bad news to Miles White; however, it all
started in '93 with Burnham and Hodgson being fully
disclosed on all aspects of the problems in FDA summary
letters. Miles White had a job to do (manage up) and did
it. Now (with those two completely out of the way,
especially The Accountant who had no business ascending to
the level of CEO in a science based company) he can
work the company out of it with some very solid
Based upon the fundamentals,
especially ABT's excellent free cash flow from a very
diversified base of business, he has a very powerful tool to
work with to achieve his strategic objectives. Much
better fundamentals than exist in ABT's peer group - and
a better risk adjusted rate of return. Best to all