NEW YORK – Abbott Laboratories Inc. (ABT) Wednesday said second-quarter earnings jumped 38 percent, helped by strong sales of two arthritis treatments and the company's line of diagnostic products.
Earnings rose to $877 million, or 56 cents a share, from $634 million, or 40 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding special items, Abbott said it earned 58 cents per share, a penny better than the average estimate among analysts polled by Reuters Estimates.
Sales rose 17.5 percent to $5.52 billion, about $230 million higher than Wall Street had expected. Sales would have risen only about 15 percent if not for the weak dollar, which raises the value of overseas sales when converted back into dollars.
Revenue from prescription drugs rose 18 percent. Sales of injectable treatment Humira for rheumatoid arthritis soared 58 percent to $321 million. Global sales of Abbott's older Mobic arthritis pill tripled to $322 million amid concerns about the safety of rival medicines following the withdrawal of Merck & Co.'s (MRK) Vioxx and Pfizer Inc.'s (PFE) Bextra.
Sales of TriCor, a drug that reduces blood fats called triglycerides, jumped almost 23 percent to $219 million.
Sales of diagnostics, including diabetes-care products, rose almost 13 percent to $957 million. The company's array of diagnostics continues to expand following resolution of quality-control problems.
For the full year, Abbott said it expects earnings of $2.47 to $2.53 per share, excluding special items, in line with the Reuters Estimates figure of $2.50 per share.
Abbott, based in suburban Chicago, recorded a $27 million charge in the second quarter related to the consolidation of its global manufacturing operations. It said the realignment, which will continue into 2006, will entail an unspecified number of job cuts, boost profit margins, and save more than $200 million annually.
The company forecast one-time after-tax charges of $215 million in the second half of this year related to the realignment. It said a majority of the charges are expected to occur in the third quarter. Abbott sees about $60 million of such charges in 2006.