Health and Science

Abbott Laboratories tops profit estimates and raises its full-year earnings forecast

Abbott Laboratories headquarters in Abbott Park, Illinois.
Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Abbott Laboratories raised its full-year earnings forecast and topped estimates for quarterly profit on Wednesday, powered by demand for its glucose monitoring device for diabetics and gains from its multibillion dollar acquisitions.

The diversified health-care company's shares rose as much as 4.3 percent to a record high. Analysts said they did not expect a raise at all because of the negative impact of a strengthening dollar on Abbott's financials.

"I was surprised by their ability to raise EPS guidance absorbing a greater currency hit," RBC Capital Markets analyst Glenn Novarro told Reuters.

"It looks like they're raising the midpoint of 2018 guidance by a few pennies, but it's actually a lot more because they have to absorb over a 5 cent negative impact."

Health-care conglomerate Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday trimmed its full-year sales forecast, citing a strengthening dollar.

Abbott now expects 2018 adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations to be $2.85 to $2.91, compared with a prior forecast of $2.80 to $2.90.

In the second quarter, revenue across the company's four major businesses rose, with sales in its medical device unit increasing 11.3 percent.

The unit, which houses the sensor-based glucose monitoring system FreeStyle Libre, was the largest contributor to total sales with a 37 percent share.

"(FreeStyle Libre) hits the sweet spot," Chief Executive Officer Miles White said on a conference call with analysts, adding that about two-thirds of current sales were to patients with Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease.

The company estimates the device will have more than a million users by the end of the year, up from 800,000 at the end of the second quarter.

Abbott's results also got a boost from last year's acquisitions of rivals St. Jude Medical and Alere for a combined $30 billion.

The Alere buy helped diagnostics business sales surge 47 percent to $1.87 billion, as it added infectious disease and cholesterol tests to Abbott's portfolio.

Overall, net sales rose 17 percent to $7.78 billion, beating estimates of $7.71 billion.

Net earnings more than doubled to $733 million in the three months ended June 30.

Excluding items, the company earned 73 cents per share, ahead of analysts' average estimate of 71 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.