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Abbott profit buoyed by Humira, emerging markets

Abbott profit buoyed by Humira, emerging markets
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First Published: Wed, Jul 20 2011. 07 40 PM IST
Updated: Wed, Jul 20 2011. 07 40 PM IST
New York: Abbott Laboratories Inc reported higher second-quarter profit, fueled by strong sales growth in emerging markets and demand for its Humira arthritis drug.
Net earnings rose 50% to $1.94 billion, or $1.23 per share, thanks to a $519 million gain from the resolution of US and international tax issues, the company said on Wednesday.
Excluding special items, profit was $1.12 per share, a penny above the average forecast of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Global sales of Humira leaped 25% to $2 billion despite stiff competition from Johnson & Johnson’s Remicade and Pfizer Inc’s Enbrel. The drugs treat rheumatoid arthritis by blocking a protein called tumor necrosis factor.
“Humira continues to be a huge factor for Abbott and we expect it to keep growing strongly over the next few years” in both developed and emerging markets, said Morningstar analyst Damien Conover.
The injectable drug, already one of the world’s top-selling medicines, should eventually capture annual revenue of $11 billion due to its potency and relatively infrequent dosing, Conover said.
Wall Street has grown increasingly concerned, however, that Abbott may have become too dependent on Humira, and that a novel new treatment being developed by Pfizer could pose a big threat to Abbott’s cash cow.
Abbott shares fell 1.3% to $52.20 in morning trading amid a moderate decline for other US drugmakers.
Abbott raised its full-year profit forecast slightly, to between $4.58 and $4.68 per share, based on favorable results so far this year. That would reflect growth of up to 12.2% from last year. The suburban Chicago drugmaker previously forecast $4.54 to $4.64 per share.
Global second-quarter sales rose 9% to $9.62 billion, a bit higher than Wall Street expectations for $9.57 billion. Sales would have risen only 4.4% if not for the weaker dollar, which boosts the value of sales in overseas markets.
Sales in emerging markets jumped 23% to $2.59 billion, bolstered by the company’s recent purchase of the generics business of India’s Piramal Healthcare.
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First Published: Wed, Jul 20 2011. 07 40 PM IST