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Abbott Q4 MDx Sales Flat; Revenues Hit by Currency Translation

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Abbott on Thursday morning reported that its fourth quarter diagnostics revenues were up around 3 percent year over year and its molecular diagnostics sales were up nearly 1 percent, but the negative effects of currency translation tamped down its reported revenues.

The Abbott Park, Ill.-based firm reported total revenues of $5.36 billion for the three months ended Dec. 31, up nearly 6 percent from $5.07 billion. Currency translation trimmed nearly 5 percent off its revenue growth for the quarter, and the firm fell short of the consensus Wall Street estimate for revenues of $5.42 billion.

Abbott's diagnostics sales totaled $1.23 billion, up 3 percent from $1.20 billion for Q4 2013.

Its molecular diagnostics sales were flat year over year at $131 million but included an unfavorable foreign exchange effect of nearly 4 percent. It is the second year in a row that Abbott reported flat Q4 MDx sales.

It said that on an operational basis, its infectious disease MDx business grew in the double digits. Abbott added that growth in the US was "impacted by continued market dynamics in the oncology and genetics business."

The firm announced last month that its pathogen detection platform, Iridica, had obtained CE marking and is now available in Europe and other countries that recognize the CE mark. The platform, formerly called Plex-ID, uses a combination of PCR and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry to amplify and detect pathogens directly from patient samples without the need for culture.

Sales for its core laboratory diagnostics grew nearly 3 percent in the quarter to $986 million, and sales for its point-of-care diagnostics products were up nearly 14 percent to $117 million.

Revenues for Abbott's nutrition business jumped 6 percent to $1.80 billion, while its established pharmaceuticals sales increased 27 percent to $922 million. Sales of medical devices were down 4 percent to $1.38 billion

Abbott's Q4 net income was $905 million, or $.59 per share, compared to $589 million, or $.37 per share, for Q4 2013. Excluding special items, Abbott's Q4 EPS was $.71, above analysts' consensus estimate of $.67.

For full-year 2014, Abbott posted total sales of $20.25 billion, a 3 percent increase from $19.66 billion in FY 2013, but short of the average Wall Street estimate of $20.37 billion. Its net income for the year was $2.28 billion, or 1.49 per share, versus $2.58 billion, or $1.62 per share, for FY 2013. On an adjusted basis, EPS was $2.28, above the consensus estimate of $2.26.

Its diagnostics sales increased 4 percent year over year to $4.72 billion. Within that segment, its molecular diagnostics revenues were $477 million, up around 1 percent. Its core laboratory diagnostics sales were up 4 percent at $3.81 billion, and its POC diagnostics sales increased nearly 7 percent to $429 million.

Abbott's nutrition sales increased 3 percent year over year to $6.95 billion, while its established pharmaceuticals sales increased 9 percent to $3.12 billion, and its medical devices revenues were down around 1 percent at $5.39 billion.

Abbott said that it expects to report FY 2015 EPS, excluding specified items, of $2.10 to $2.20. For Q1 it expects EPS, excluding specified items, of $.41 to $.43.