Abbott to cut 700 jobs in the U.S., Puerto Rico

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Abbott (NYSE:ABT) followed up the release of its 2011 financials by announcing job losses in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

The Chicago-area medical giant plans to lay off about 300 people from its vascular business in Temecula, Calif., and another 200 in diagnostics at its headquarters in Lake County, Ill.

The majority of the remaining cuts will affect Abbott’s Puerto Rico operations, and the rest will be spread accross several other sites, company spokeswoman Adele Infante told MassDevice.

Cutbacks in the Temecula plant come as Boston Scientific prepares to scale back its promotion of the Promus drug-eluting stent, which it licenses from Abbott, since having won FDA clearance for its own DES technology.

Layoffs in the diagnostic division relate to ongoing streamlining efforts first announced in 2008.

Abbott employees got wind of the layoffs after the company released its earnings report this morning, in which it posted earnings above analysts’ forecasts but lower-than-expected sales for its 4th quarter and full year 2011.

The medical products giant posted revenues of $10.38 billion for the 3 months ended Dec. 31, 2011, up 4.1% compared with Q4 2010 but lower than the $10.63 billion expected on The Street.

The Abbott Park, Ill.-based firm reported profits of $1.62 billion, or $1.02 per diluted share, up 10.9% compared with the same period last year. Excluding 1-time items, EPS reached $1.45, a penny more than analysts expected. Full-year profits were $4.73 billion, or $3.01 per diluted share, a 2.2% uptick compared with 2010. Adjusted EPS hit $4.66, also a penny above expectations on The Street.

ABT shares closed today $55.23, down 1.3% from yesterday’s close of $55.98.

Almost a year ago to the day, Abbott announced another dramatic round of layoffs representing about 2% of its global workforce.

The medical goliath announced 1,900 layoffs on Jan. 26, 2011, related to restructuring of its pharmaceutical business as a result of "changes in the health care industry, including U.S. Health Care Reform and the challenging regulatory environment."

Abbott also announced 160 layoffs from its diagnostics division in September.

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