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Abbott Q2 Diagnostics Revenues Rise 5 Percent, MDx Revenues Skyrocket

This story has been updated with additional information from Abbott's earnings call. 

NEW YORK – Abbott on Thursday said that its Diagnostics business revenues grew 5 percent year over year in the second quarter, while its total revenues were down 8 percent.

For the three months ended June 30, the Abbott Park, Illinois-based firm reported overall Q2 revenues of $7.33 billion, down from $7.98 billion in Q2 2019, and down 5 percent on an organic basis. The company beat the consensus Wall Street estimate of $6.75 billion.

Abbott reported Diagnostics sales of $1.99 billion compared to $1.91 billion in the prior-year quarter. On an organic basis, excluding foreign exchange effect, Abbott's worldwide diagnostics sales increased 7 percent.

Within Diagnostics, Core Laboratory Q2 revenues decreased nearly 16 percent to $987 million from $1.17 billion in Q2 2019; Molecular revenues increased 234 percent to $359 million from $107 million in Q2 2019; and Point of Care revenues fell 18 percent to $118 million from $145 million in the prior-year quarter. The firm reported $530 million in Rapid Diagnostics sales, increasing almost 10 percent from the Q2 2019's sales of $484 million.

Core laboratory decreases were the result of lower routine diagnostics testing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the firm said. The fall was partially offset after Abbott launched its SARS-CoV-2 tests for detection of the IgG antibody. The firm said antibody testing-related sales on its Architect and Alinity i platforms were $152 million in the second quarter.

On a conference call to discuss the financial results, Abbott President and CEO Robert Ford said non-COVID-19 testing volumes had rebounded to approximately 90 percent of the pre-pandemic volumes by the end of the second quarter.

The significant increase in molecular and rapid diagnostics sales is due to demand for Abbott's COVID-19 tests, including the molecular tests run on the m2000 and Alinity m platforms and the rapid ID Now molecular test, Abbott said. COVID-19 testing-related sales for molecular diagnostics were $283 million in Q2 and $180 million for rapid diagnostics. Sales of COVID-19 tests were $615 million in the quarter, a spokesperson from Abbott noted.

Ford noted on the conference call that Abbott has sold about 40 million COVID-19 tests across all of its platforms. He also said he expects the demand for antibody and antigen tests to grow as countries expand surveillance testing of asymptomatic patients for SARS-CoV-2. "It's clear that the need for testing is large, and it isn't going away," said Ford.

He emphasized Abbott's efforts to increase manufacturing capacity across all of its COVID-19 tests and their platforms, noting that the firm had been working at manufacturing expansion during the second quarter. Ford also mentioned that Abbott plans to add new SARS-CoV-2 tests in new formats, including launching a lateral flow test in the US.

In Abbott's other businesses, Nutrition sales grew less than 1 percent to $1.88 billion; Established Pharmaceuticals fell 9 percent to $1.01 billion; and Medical Devices fell 21 percent to $2.42 billion.

Abbott reported net earnings of $537 million, or $.30 per share, in Q2 2020 compared to $1.01 billion, or $.56 per share, in the year-ago period. On an adjusted basis, EPS was $.57, topping analysts' consensus estimate of $.41.

The firm spent $564 million on R&D in Q2, a 2 percent decrease from $577 million in the prior-year quarter, and logged $2.28 billion in SG&A expenses, down 6 percent from $2.43 billion in the Q2 2019.

For full-year 2020, Abbott raised its projected 2020 EPS to at least $2.00 and adjusted EPS of at least $3.25. Earlier in the year, Abbott suspended its previously announced guidance for 2020 due to uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic.

On June 12, the company said it would pay a cash dividend of $.36 per share to shareholders of record at close of business on July 15.

In Thursday morning premarket trading on the New York Stock Exchange, shares of Abbott were up less than 1 percent at $97.20.