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Abbott profit falls on separation costs

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Abbott Laboratories said Wednesday its profit fell 35 percent in the fourth quarter on costs from the spin-off of its drug business into the new company Abbvie.

On Jan. 1 Abbott completed the split, leaving it with a business model built around generic drugs, medical implants and nutritional formula. Abbvie will market the company's branded prescription drugs, including the blockbuster anti-inflammatory drug Humira.

In Abbott's last quarter as a combined unit, the company earned $1.05 billion, or 66 cents per share, down from $1.62 billion, or $1.02 in the last quarter of 2011.

Earnings were weighed down by a number of one-time charges, including $265 million in separation costs. Excluding that and other charges Abbott would have earned $1.51 per share. The company's revenue increased 4 percent to $10.84 billion, from $10.38 billion in the 2011 fourth quarter.

Analysts polled by FactSet, on average, expected earnings per share of 70 cents per share, on revenue of $10.61 billion.

The higher revenue was led by sales of Humira, which increased 23 percent to $2.68 billion. Sales of nutritionals increased 10 percent to $1.7 billion.

For the coming year, Abbott expects earnings per share between $1.98 and $2.04. Wall Street, on average, was forecasting $1.96 per share, with estimates ranging from $1.56 to $2.10.

Abbvie is scheduled to report its earnings on Jan. 30.

In morning trading, Abbott Park, Ill.-based Abbott Laboratories' shares slipped 12 cents to $32.78.