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Abbott Labs 2015 outlook largely in line with estimates

Employees walk near an Abbott Laboratories sign at the company's headquarters complex in Abbott Park, Illinois.
Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Employees walk near an Abbott Laboratories sign at the company's headquarters complex in Abbott Park, Illinois.

Abbott Laboratories forecast full-year profit largely in line with analysts' estimates even as other large drugmakers have warned of a stronger dollar hurting their results.

Johnson & Johnson surprised investors last week by detailing the degree to which a strong dollar will hurt sales abroad this year.

"While we'll need to manage through currency headwinds again in 2015, we're targeting another year of top-tier earnings growth," Abbott CEO Miles White said in a statement.

The dollar rose 13 percent in 2014, its biggest yearly gain since 1997.

The company, which received more than 70 percent of revenue from outside the United States, said it expects 2015 earnings of $2.10-$2.20 per share, compared with the average analyst estimate of $2.14 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales of the company's nutritional products, including Similac infant formula and Ensure beverages for adults, rose 8.9 percent in the quarter on an operational basis to $1.80 billion.

Abbott recalled batches of its milk formulas in China and Vietnam in the summer of 2013 due to fears that protein concentrate, an ingredient provided by an outside supplier, was contaminated.

The company's net earnings rose to $905 million, or 59 cents per share, in the fourth quarter from $589 million, or 37 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding special items, Abbott earned 71 cents per share above analysts expectation of 68 cents per share.

Net sales rose about 6 pct to $5.36 billion but was below average analysts' estimate of $5.42 billion.

Abbott in July agreed to sell Mylan its branded specialty and generics pharmaceuticals business in developed markets outside the United States.

Abbott shares were up 1.3 percent at $44 in early trading.