Abbott Labs 4Q dinged by nutrition formula recall

Abbott Laboratories shares slide on disappointing revenue after baby formula recall

Associated Press

NORTH CHICAGO (AP) -- Shares of Abbott Laboratories sank Wednesday after the diversified healthcare conglomerate reported lower-than-expected sales, in part due to a recall of its nutritional formula over the summer.

The company reported a 3.3 percent rise in sales to $5.66 billion for the fourth quarter without the effects of foreign exchange rates. Including that, sales grew less than half-a-percent.

Last January Abbott completed the spin-off of its branded drug business into the new company AbbVie. Abbott's remaining business model is built around nutritional formula, generic drugs, medical implants and diagnostics.

Earnings from those remaining operations were $589 million, or 37 cents per share, compared with a loss from continuing operations of $522 million, or 33 cents per share, in the last quarter of 2012, when the company took a number of charges tied to the Abbvie split. Excluding those and other one-time costs, the company reported 58 cents per share.

Analysts polled by FactSet predicted earnings per share of 58 cents revenue of $5.72 billion.

Baby formula sales fell 2 percent to $930 million, dented by an August recall that the company said shaved $90 million off its revenue. Adult formula sales increased 5 percent to $772 million. Medical device sales rose 2 percent to $1.43 billion and diagnostics increased nearly 6 percent to $1.2 billion.

Looking ahead, the North Chicago-based company predicted full-year 2014 adjusted earnings between $2.16 and $2.26 per share. Analysts polled by FactSet called for $2.22 per share.

In trading Wednesday Abbot's shares fell $1.05, or 2.7 percent, to close at $38.07.

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