Abbott (NYSE:ABT) shares are down nearly 2% this morning on Wall Street, after the company’s 4th-quarter sales missed expectations.
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.
ABT shares were trading at $55.02 as of about 11 a.m. today, down 1.7%, despite Street-beating profit numbers for both the quarter and the full year.
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.
"Despite another challenging year for the global economy, Abbott again delivered leading performance, including strong sales and ongoing earnings-per-share growth," chairman & CEO Miles White said in prepared remarks. "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."
Abbott predicted full-year profits of of $4.60 to $4.70, excluding 1-time items, well below analysts’ consensus estimate of $5.02.
Its vascular business posted a single-digit sales increase for the full year, but only a slight boost for the just-ended quarter. Vascular sales were $3.33 billion in 2011, up 4.5%; Q4 vascular sales were $826 million, up a hair compared with $822 million in Q4 2010.
Coronary stent sales were $508 million during Q4 2011, down 1.2% on lower sales of Boston Scientific’s Promus, a private-label version of Abbott’s Xience V stent, as BSX shifts to the latest iteration in the Promus line. For the full year, coronary stent sales were $2.08 billion, up 3.5% over 2010.
Last October, Abbott said it’s planning to spin out its research pharmaceuticals business into a stand-alone, publicly traded company. That move is "on track," the company said today; at the time of the announcement, Abbott said it expects the split to be complete some time this year.