Abbott (NYSE:ABT) reported strong sales for its vascular medical devices business, which posted double-digit growth during 2009 and rose 9.1 percent to $723 million during the fourth quarter, including the effects of foreign exchange rates.
The Chicago-area medical device monolith’s overall sales rose 10.6 percent to $8.79 billion during the three months ended Dec. 31. For the full year, total sales reached $30.77 billion, a 4.2 percent increase when exchange rates were taken into account.
Abbott said its international vascular sales rose 15.7 percent to $309 million during the fourth quarter. U.S. vascular sales were up 4.6 percent to $414 million. For the full year, overseas vascular sales topped $1.09 billion, a 5.5 percent increase after exchange rates, and U.S. vascular sales were $1.6 billion, up 32.7 percent.
The company credited "the continued market uptake" of its Xience V drug-eluting stent as the main driver of its vascular division’s performance. Abbott landed Japanese approval of the device earlier this month and won CE Marking in the European Union for that stent and the Xience Prime last November. The company said it expects the Xience V to hit the market in Japan next month, after it receives reimbursement approval from Japanese authorities, and announced its January approval and February launch in Mexico as well.
Abbott also said it’s working on what would be the thinnest drug-eluting stent on the market, the "Thinman," and a bioabsorbable stent. The company claimed it has "the most advanced clinical program" for a bioabsorbable stent "with an opportunity to reach the market years ahead of competitors."
Looking ahead, Abbott said it expects adjusted earnings per share of $4.20 to $4.25 for the full year. The company issued a 40-cent-per-share dividend for the fourth quarter, its 344th consecutive quarterly payout to stockholders.