Abbott Laboratories Spins Off AbbVie, Reports Dip in Fourth-Quarter Profits

Abbott Laboratories announced a 35 percent decrease in profits in the fourth quarter of 2012. Despite an increase in sales of more than 4 percent, net earnings for the quarter were $1.05 billion, down from $1.62 billion in 2011.

Early repayment of debt and costs associated with spinning off Abbott’s biopharmaceutical business into a new company called AbbVie contributed to the drop at the end of the last quarter. Finalized at the beginning of 2013, the new multinational will concentrate solely on the development of pharmaceuticals to treat complex diseases that affect broad patient populations.

The Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch recently reported that Abbott’s move to spin off AbbVie was “a bid for a higher market valuation for Abbott Labs’ diversified businesses, which are poised for stronger earnings growth in coming years than AbbVie.”

Abbott will maintain its stable of diagnostic and endovascular devices, as well as diabetes, vision, and nutritional products.

AbbVie’s focus is on drug development in therapeutic areas such as hepatitis C, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. The new pharmaceutical firm also inherited several products from Abbott’s nephrology portfolio, including Calcijex (calcitriol injection) and Zemplar (paricalcitol).

“In 2012, we achieved a significant milestone in Abbott’s 125-year history with the creation of AbbVie while delivering another year of strong results,” Abbott’s chairman and CEO Miles White said. “Abbott’s mix of diversified health care businesses and pipeline is favorably aligned with key health care and emerging market trends and well positioned to deliver top-tier growth in 2013.”

March 2013 (Vol. 5, Number 3)