Abbott Laboratories Earnings: Keeping the Profitability Streak Alive

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) reported its results for the fourth quarter. Abbott Laboratories is a pharmaceuticals health care company, whose main line of business is in the discovery, development, manufacture, and sale of a broad range of health care products. Its customers include wholesalers, hospitals and commercial laboratories.

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Abbott Laboratories Earnings Cheat Sheet for the Fourth Quarter

Results: Net income for Abbott Laboratories rose to $1.62 billion ($1.02 per share) vs. $1.44 billion (92 cents per share) in the same quarter a year earlier. This marks a rise of 12.4% from the year earlier quarter.

Revenue: Rose 4.1% to $10.38 billion from the year earlier quarter.

Actual vs. Wall St. Expectations: ABT reported adjusted net income of $1.45 per share. By that measure, the company was about in line with expectations as the mean analyst estimate was $1.44 per share. It fell short of the average revenue estimate of $10.61 billion.

Quoting Management: “Despite another challenging year for the global economy, Abbott again delivered leading performance, including strong sales and ongoing earnings-per-share growth,” said Miles D. White, chairman and chief executive officer, Abbott. “2011 was a significant year for Abbott, with the announced plan to separate into two leading health care companies in research-based pharmaceuticals and diversified medical products, each offering shareholders distinct identities with unique investment opportunities. We remain on track to complete the separation by the end of 2012.” The following is a summary of fourth-quarter 2011 sales by major business category.

Key Stats:

The company has now topped analyst estimates for the last four quarters. It beat the mark by one cent in the third quarter, by one cent in the second quarter, and by one cent in the first quarter.

Revenue has risen the past four quarters. Revenue increased 13.2% to $9.82 billion in the third quarter. The figure rose 9% in the second quarter from the year earlier and climbed 17.4% in the first quarter from the year-ago quarter.

The increase in profit last quarter comes after net income fell in the previous quarter. In the third quarter, net income declined 66% to $303.2 million.

Looking Forward: For the next quarter, analysts are growing pessimistic about the company’s expected results. The average estimate for the first quarter of the next fiscal year is $1.04 per share, dropping from $1.06 a month ago. For the fiscal year, the average estimate has been unchanged at $4.65 a share.

Competitors to Watch: Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS), GlaxoSmithKline plc (NYSE:GSK), Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE:BMY), Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK), Medtronic, Inc. (NYSE:MDT), Boston Scientific Corp. (NYSE:BSX), and Sanofi-Aventis SA (NYSE:SNY).

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(Company fundamentals provided by Xignite Financials. Earnings estimates provided by Zacks)