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Abbott Reports Double-Digit Sales and Earnings Growth in Fourth Quarter; Confirms Strong Outlook for 2009 Earnings

January 21, 2009

ABBOTT PARK, Ill., Jan. 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Abbott (NYSE: ABT)
today announced financial results for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2008.

     --   Diluted earnings per share, excluding specified items, were $1.06,
          reflecting 14.0 percent growth, in line with Abbott's previous
          forecast. Diluted earnings per share under Generally Accepted
          Accounting Principles (GAAP) were $0.98, up 27.3 percent.

     --   Worldwide sales increased 10.1 percent to $8 billion, including an
          unfavorable 2.5 percent effect of exchange rates. Full-year 2008
          sales were nearly $30 billion.

     --   Worldwide pharmaceutical sales increased nearly 10 percent driven by
          double-digit growth in HUMIRA(R), Niaspan(R), and the
          TriCor(R)/TRILIPIX(TM) franchise. Global HUMIRA sales in the quarter
          exceeded $1.3 billion; full-year 2008 global HUMIRA sales were more
          than $4.5 billion.

     --   Worldwide medical products sales increased 15.6 percent; with 58.9
          percent growth in global vascular sales driven by the continued
          success of the XIENCE V(TM) drug-eluting stent (DES), which became
          the market-leading DES in the U.S. during the fourth quarter. Last
          week, Abbott announced the acquisition of Advanced Medical Optics
          (AMO), strengthening and expanding Abbott's medical device business
          with  a global market leader in ophthalmology.

     --   Global nutritional sales increased 11.0 percent, up more than 15
          percent internationally and nearly 7 percent in the U.S.

     --   Abbott is confirming previously issued earnings-per-share guidance
          for the full-year 2009 of $3.65 to $3.70 under both Generally
          Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and on a non-GAAP basis. The
          midpoint of this 2009 guidance range reflects double-digit growth
          over 2008 earnings per share.

“2008 was another highly productive and successful year for Abbott,” said

Miles D. White, chairman and chief executive officer, Abbott. “We
significantly outperformed our original growth expectations for the year and
added to our diverse portfolio with a significant number of major new product
launches. The strategic actions we’ve taken and our ongoing business momentum
position Abbott to deliver continued double-digit growth in 2009.”

    The following is a summary of fourth-quarter 2008 sales.

                                                                   Impact of
    Sales Summary -                   4Q08           % Change       Exchange
    Quarter Ended 12/31/08         ($ millions)      vs. 4Q07     on % Change
    Total Sales                      $7,950            10.1          (2.5)

      Total U.S. Sales               $4,035            12.4           ---

      Total International Sales      $3,915             7.8          (4.9)

    Worldwide Pharmaceutical Sales   $4,610             9.8          (2.6)

      U.S. Pharmaceuticals           $2,540            10.2           ---

      International Pharmaceuticals  $2,070             9.5          (5.9)

    Worldwide Nutritional Sales      $1,317            11.0          (1.4)

      U.S. Nutritionals                $656             6.6           ---

      International Nutritionals       $661            15.6          (2.9)

    Worldwide Diagnostics Sales        $896             4.4          (3.3)

      U.S. Diagnostics                 $231             8.8           ---

      International Diagnostics        $665             2.9          (4.3)

    Worldwide Vascular Sales           $663            58.9          (2.8)

      U.S. Vascular                    $396           102.3           ---

      International Vascular           $267            20.5          (5.2)

    Other Sales                        $464           (17.4)         (2.2)

    Note:  See "Consolidated Statement of Earnings" for more information.

    The following is a summary of sales for the full-year 2008.

                                                                  Impact of
    Sales Summary -                   FY08           % Change      Exchange
    Twelve Months Ended 12/31/08  ($ millions)      vs. FY07      on % Change
    Total Sales                     $29,528            13.9           3.2

      Total U.S. Sales              $14,170            10.1           ---

      Total International Sales     $15,358            17.8           6.3

    Worldwide Pharmaceutical Sales  $16,708            14.2           3.2

      U.S. Pharmaceuticals           $8,497             8.9           ---

      International Pharmaceuticals  $8,211            20.3           6.9

    Worldwide Nutritional Sales      $4,924            12.2           1.9

      U.S. Nutritionals              $2,479             5.6           ---

      International Nutritionals     $2,445            19.8           4.0

    Worldwide Diagnostics Sales      $3,575            13.2           5.1

      U.S. Diagnostics                 $899             9.6           ---

      International Diagnostics      $2,676            14.5           6.9

    Worldwide Vascular Sales         $2,241            34.7           3.5

      U.S. Vascular                  $1,205            39.6           ---

      International Vascular         $1,036            29.4           7.2

    Other Sales                      $2,080             0.3           2.6

    Note:  See "Consolidated Statement of Earnings" for more information.

    The following is a summary of Abbott's fourth-quarter 2008 sales for
selected products.

    Quarter Ended 12/31/08
                                  Percent          Percent            Percent
    (dollars in          U.S.     Change  Rest of   Change     Global  Change
     millions)          Sales    vs. 4Q07  World   vs. 4Q07    Sales  vs. 4Q07
    Pharmaceutical
     Products
    HUMIRA              $751      42.4      $600    40.5 a     $1,351    41.6
    TriCor/TRILIPIX     $455      16.0       ---      ---        $455    16.0
    Kaletra             $152      (0.7)     $226     3.5 b       $378     1.8
    Depakote            $244     (43.8)      $24     (9.1)       $268   (41.8)
    Niaspan             $221      23.8       ---      ---        $221    23.8
    Lupron              $147       n/m       $66    (9.6)c       $213     n/m
    Ultane/Sevorane      $58      15.7      $140    (6.8)d        $198   (1.2)
    Biaxin
     (clarithromycin)     $3       n/m      $151   (17.8)e       $154   (22.6)
    Synthroid           $120      (9.4)      $22      7.4        $142    (7.1)

    Nutritional Products
    Pediatric
     Nutritionals       $333       2.5      $390    29.4 f       $723    15.4
    Adult Nutritionals  $295       5.3      $270     0.2 g       $565     2.8

    Medical Products
    Abbott Diabetes
     Care               $144       7.1      $193    (3.5)h       $337     0.7
    Coronary Stents     $267     245.9      $143    35.5 i       $410   124.5
    Other Coronary       $72      15.0       $83     3.1 j       $155     8.3
    Endovascular         $57       1.3       $41    15.3 k        $98     6.7

    a Without the negative impact of exchange of 9.3 percent, HUMIRA sales
      increased 49.8 percent internationally.
    b Without the negative impact of exchange of 4.9 percent, Kaletra sales
      increased 8.4 percent internationally.
    c Without the negative impact of exchange of 7.5 percent, Lupron sales
      decreased 2.1 percent internationally.
    d Without the negative impact of exchange of 6.2 percent, Sevorane sales
      decreased 0.6 percent internationally.
    e Without the negative impact of exchange of 2.3 percent, clarithromycin
      sales decreased 15.5 percent internationally.
    f Without the negative impact of exchange of 1.3 percent, Pediatric
      Nutritionals sales increased 30.7 percent internationally.
    g Without the negative impact of exchange of 4.6 percent, Adult
      Nutritionals sales increased 4.8 percent internationally.
    h Without the negative impact of exchange of 5.9 percent, Abbott Diabetes
      Care sales increased 2.4 percent internationally.
    i Without the negative impact of exchange of 5.2 percent, Coronary Stents
      sales increased 40.7 percent internationally.
    j Without the negative impact of exchange of 4.5 percent, Other Coronary
      sales increased 7.6 percent internationally.
    k Without the negative impact of exchange of 6.7 percent, Endovascular
      sales increased 22.0 percent internationally.

    n/m = Not meaningful

The following is a summary of Abbott’s full-year 2008 sales for selected
products.


    Twelve Months Ended 12/31/08
                                 Percent           Percent           Percent
    (dollars in         U.S.     Change  Rest of   Change    Global  Change
     millions)         Sales    vs. FY07  World   vs. FY07    Sales  vs. FY07
    Pharmaceutical
     Products
    HUMIRA            $2,255      36.6    $2,266    60.4 a     $4,521    47.6
    Kaletra             $513      (4.7)     $961    22.1 b     $1,474    11.2
    Depakote          $1,262     (14.8)     $102      7.4      $1,364   (13.4)
    TriCor/TRILIPIX   $1,341      10.1       ---      ---      $1,341    10.1
    Ultane/Sevorane     $193      (3.4)     $594     6.2 c       $787     3.7
    Niaspan             $786      19.4       ---      ---        $786    19.4
    Biaxin
     (clarithromycin)    $14       n/m      $637    (7.4)d       $651   (10.1)
    Lupron              $377       n/m      $274     6.5 e       $651     n/m
    Synthroid           $435      (5.0)      $89     19.2        $524    (1.6)

    Nutritional Products
    Pediatric
     Nutritionals     $1,268       2.8    $1,374    25.7 f     $2,642    13.6
    Adult
     Nutritionals     $1,162       7.8    $1,070    13.0 g     $2,232    10.3

    Medical Products
    Abbott Diabetes
     Care               $559       1.1      $794    14.2 h     $1,353     8.4
    Coronary Stents     $669     118.5      $530    44.8 i     $1,199    78.4
    Other Coronary      $298      (0.5)     $344    13.4 j       $642     6.5
    Endovascular        $238      (7.6)     $162    24.1 k       $400     3.1

    a Without the positive impact of exchange of 9.7 percent, HUMIRA sales
      increased 50.7 percent internationally.
    b Without the positive impact of exchange of 6.7 percent, Kaletra sales
      increased 15.4 percent internationally.
    c Without the positive impact of exchange of 5.0 percent, Sevorane sales
      increased 1.2 percent internationally.
    d Without the positive impact of exchange of 6.2 percent, clarithromycin
      sales decreased 13.6 percent internationally.
    e Without the positive impact of exchange of 6.1 percent, Lupron sales
      increased 0.4 percent internationally.
    f Without the positive impact of exchange of 3.6 percent, Pediatric
      Nutritionals sales increased 22.1 percent internationally.
    g Without the positive impact of exchange of 4.5 percent, Adult
      Nutritionals sales increased 8.5 percent internationally.
    h Without the positive impact of exchange of 7.1 percent, Abbott Diabetes
      Care sales increased 7.1 percent internationally.
    i Without the positive impact of exchange of 8.0 percent, Coronary Stents
      sales increased 36.8 percent internationally.
    j Without the positive impact of exchange of 6.4 percent, Other Coronary
      sales increased 7.0 percent internationally.
    k Without the positive impact of exchange of 7.0 percent, Endovascular
      sales increased 17.1 percent internationally.

    n/m = Not meaningful

     Business Highlights

     --   Abbott to Acquire Advanced Medical Optics (AMO) - Abbott announced
          an agreement to acquire AMO, an established global leader in the
          large and growing eye care market. This acquisition strengthens and
          expands Abbott's current medical device business, providing further
          diversification for the long term. AMO participates in three
          segments: cataract surgery, refractive surgery, or LASIK laser
          vision correction, and eye care products, such as contact lens
          solutions. AMO holds the number-one market position in LASIK, the
          number-two position in cataract surgery and the number-three
          position in eye care products. The ophthalmology market is supported
          by strong demographic trends, including a large population of people
          60 years of age and older, and increased demand for advanced vision
          care procedures and products.

     --   Abbott Receives FDA Approval for TRILIPIX(TM) - The U.S. FDA
          approved Abbott's TRILIPIX (fenofibric acid), the first fibrate to
          be approved for use in combination with a statin. The FDA approval
          of TRILIPIX was based on the largest clinical trial program designed
          to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a fibrate in combination with
          various statins.

     --   Abbott Begins U.S. Study of XIENCE V(TM) Designed for Small Vessels
          - Abbott began SPIRIT Small Vessel, a clinical trial evaluating a
          2.25 mm size of the XIENCE V Everolimus Eluting Coronary Stent
          System. The 2.25 mm stent system, to be called Xience Nano(TM) in
          the United States upon FDA approval, would offer physicians an
          option for treating coronary artery disease in narrower vessels that
          is based on the proven efficacy, safety and deliverability of XIENCE
          V. Last year, the XIENCE V 2.25 mm stent system received CE Mark
          approval and was launched in various countries in Europe, Asia and
          Latin America.

     --   HUMIRA(R) May Help Prevent Further Joint Damage For Up To Five Years
          - Presented new HUMIRA data demonstrating half of patients with
          moderate to severe early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) showed no
          progression of joint damage at five years. These results were seen
          in patients who initially received HUMIRA in combination with
          methotrexate (MTX) for two years and continued on HUMIRA for an
          additional three years in an open-label extension study. Five-year
          results of the PREMIER study found that patients with early RA
          achieved the best results with an initial combination of HUMIRA and
          methotrexate.

     --   HUMIRA Demonstrates Fistula Healing for Up to Three Years in Crohn's
          Patients - Presented new HUMIRA data in the long-term treatment of
          fistulas, with more than half of patients with moderate to severe
          Crohn's disease experiencing fistula healing at three years. Data
          also showed response to HUMIRA in difficult-to-treat patients -
          those with fistulas who had failed to respond, lost response to, or
          were intolerant of infliximab.

     --   TCT Data Presentations - Presented results from a new meta-analysis
          of XIENCE V drug-eluting stent clinical trials, SPIRIT II and SPIRIT
          III, which showed XIENCE V outperformed Boston Scientific's TAXUS(R)
          in key efficacy and safety endpoints out to two years. We also
          presented new two-year data from our ABSORB trial, which
          demonstrated that our bioabsorbable drug-eluting stent successfully
          treated coronary artery disease and absorbed within two years.

     --   Abbott Exercises Its Option to Acquire IBIS Biosciences - Abbott
          completed the purchase of the remaining equity ownership in IBIS
          Biosciences, Inc.

Abbott confirms double-digit earnings-per-share growth outlook for 2009

Abbott is confirming previously issued earnings-per-share guidance for the
full-year 2009 of $3.65 to $3.70 under both Generally Accepted Accounting
Principles (GAAP) and on a non-GAAP, or adjusted basis. The midpoint of this
2009 guidance range reflects double-digit growth over 2008 earnings per share.

Abbott declares quarterly dividend; double-digit increase over prior year

On Dec. 12, 2008, the board of directors of Abbott declared the company’s
quarterly common dividend of 36 cents per share, a 10.8 percent increase over
the prior year. The cash dividend is payable Feb. 15, 2009, to shareholders of
record at the close of business on Jan. 15, 2009. This marks the 340th
consecutive dividend paid by Abbott since 1924.

About Abbott

Abbott is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the
discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals and
medical products, including nutritionals, devices and diagnostics. The company
employs more than 68,000 people and markets its products in more than 130
countries.

Abbott’s news releases and other information are available on the
company’s Web site at http://www.abbott.com. Abbott will webcast its live
fourth-quarter earnings conference call through its Investor Relations Web
site at http://www.abbottinvestor.com at 8 a.m. Central time today. An
archived edition of the call will be available after 11 a.m. Central time.


             - Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 -
               A Caution Concerning Forward-Looking Statements

Some statements in this news release may be forward-looking statements for
the purposes of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. We
caution that these forward-looking statements are subject to risks and
uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those
indicated. Economic, competitive, governmental, technological and other
factors that may affect Abbott’s operations are discussed in Item 1A, “Risk
Factors,” to our Annual Report on Securities and Exchange Commission Form 10-K
for the year ended Dec. 31, 2007, Item 1A, “Risk Factors,” to Abbott’s
Quarterly Report on Securities and Exchange Commission Form 10-Q for the
quarter ended June 30, 2008 and in Item 1A, “Risk Factors,” to Abbott’s
Quarterly Report on Securities and Exchange Commission Form 10-Q for the
quarter ended September 30, 2008, and are incorporated by reference. Abbott
undertakes no obligation to release publicly any revisions to forward-looking
statements as a result of subsequent events or developments.


                     Abbott Laboratories and Subsidiaries
                      Consolidated Statement of Earnings
               Fourth Quarter Ended December 31, 2008 and 2007
                                 (unaudited)

                                                                    Percent
                                     2008              2007          Change

    Net Sales                 $7,950,268,000    $7,221,351,000        10.1
    Cost of products sold      3,178,381,000     3,161,680,000         0.5
    Research and development     731,631,000       662,401,000        10.5
    Selling, general and
     administrative            2,297,360,000     1,879,269,000        22.2
    Total Operating Cost and
     Expenses                  6,207,372,000     5,703,350,000         8.8

    Operating earnings         1,742,896,000     1,518,001,000        14.8

    Net interest expense          81,045,000       101,145,000       (19.9)
    Net foreign exchange
     (gain) loss                  46,395,000        (1,061,000)        n/m
    (Income) from TAP
     Pharmaceutical Products
     Inc. joint venture                  ---      (121,574,000)        n/m
    Other (income) expense,
     net                         (70,750,000)       56,566,000         n/m 1)
    Earnings from continuing
    operations before taxes    1,686,206,000     1,482,925,000        13.7
    Taxes on earnings from
     continuing operations       296,483,000       279,898,000         5.9
    Earnings from Continuing
     Operations               $1,389,723,000    $1,203,027,000        15.5
    Gain on sale of
     discontinued operations,
     net of tax                  146,503,000               ---         n/m 2)

    Net Earnings              $1,536,226,000    $1,203,027,000        27.7

    Net Earnings from
     Continuing Operations
     Excluding Specified Items,
     as described below       $1,654,756,000    $1,452,565,000        13.9 3)

    Diluted Earnings per
     Common Share from
     Continuing Operations             $0.89             $0.77        15.6

    Diluted Earnings per
     Common Share from Gain on
     Sale of Discontinued Operations   $0.09               ---         n/m 2)

    Diluted Earnings per Common Share  $0.98             $0.77        27.3

    Diluted Earnings per Common
     Share from Continuing Operations
     Excluding Specified Items,
     as described below                $1.06             $0.93        14.0 3)

    Average Number of Common
     Shares Outstanding Plus
     Dilutive Common Stock
     Options and  Awards       1,564,235,000     1,562,664,000

    1) Other (income) expense, net, in 2008 includes primarily ongoing
       contractual payments from Takeda associated with the conclusion of the
       TAP joint venture. Other (income) expense, net, in 2007 is primarily
       associated with Abbott's ownership of Boston Scientific stock.

    2) Gain on sale of discontinued operations, net of tax, reflects the
       after-tax gain on the sale of the spine business, which closed during
       the quarter. This gain has been treated as a specified item and
       excluded from ongoing earnings as noted below.

    3) 2008 Net Earnings Excluding Specified Items excludes after-tax charges
       of $183 million, or $0.12 per share, for previously announced
       litigation settlements related to TriCor and $83 million, or $0.05 per
       share, for cost reduction initiatives, acquisition integration and
       other, including actions to improve efficiencies in the core diagnostic
       business.  These charges were partially offset by an after-tax gain of
       $147 million, or $0.09 per share, related to the sale of the spine
       business.

       2007 Net Earnings Excluding Specified Items excludes after-tax charges
       of $42 million, or $0.03 per share, for acquisition integration, $34
       million, or $0.02 per share, for fair-value loss adjustments related to
       Boston Scientific stock, $26 million, or $0.02, for write-down of
       Omnicef inventory and $148 million, or $0.09 per share, for cost
       reduction initiatives and other.

NOTE: See attached questions and answers section for further explanation
of Consolidated Statement of Earnings line items.

    n/m = Percent change is not meaningful.

                     Abbott Laboratories and Subsidiaries
                      Consolidated Statement of Earnings
                    Year Ended December 31, 2008 and 2007
                                 (unaudited)

                                                                     Percent
                                     2008              2007           Change

    Net Sales                 $29,527,552,000   $25,914,238,000        13.9
    Cost of products sold      12,612,022,000    11,422,046,000        10.4
    Research and development    2,688,811,000     2,505,649,000         7.3
    Acquired in-process
     research and development      97,256,000               ---         n/m
    Selling, general and
     administrative             8,435,624,000     7,407,998,000        13.9
    Total Operating Cost
     and Expenses              23,833,713,000    21,335,693,000        11.7

    Operating earnings          5,693,839,000     4,578,545,000        24.4

    Net interest expense          327,245,000       456,390,000       (28.3)
    Net foreign exchange
     (gain) loss                   84,244,000        14,997,000         n/m
    (Income) from TAP
     Pharmaceutical Products
     Inc. joint venture          (118,997,000)     (498,016,000)      (76.1)
    Other (income) expense,
     net                         (454,939,000)      135,526,000         n/m 1)
    Earnings from continuing
     operations before taxes    5,856,286,000     4,469,648,000        31.0
    Taxes on earnings from
     continuing operations      1,122,070,000       863,334,000        30.0
    Earnings from Continuing
     Operations                 4,734,216,000     3,606,314,000        31.3
    Gain on sale of
     discontinued operations,
     net of tax                   146,503,000               ---         n/m 2)

    Net Earnings               $4,880,719,000    $3,606,314,000        35.3

    Net Earnings from
     Continuing Operations
     Excluding Specified
    Items, as described
     below                     $5,186,030,000    $4,429,146,000        17.1 3)

    Diluted Earnings per
     Common Share from Continuing
     Operations                         $3.03             $2.31        31.2 3)

    Diluted Earnings per Common
     Share from Gain of Sale of
     Discontinued Operations            $0.09               ---         n/m 2)

    Diluted Earnings per Common
     Share                              $3.12             $2.31        35.1

    Diluted Earnings per Common
     Share from Continuing Operations
    Excluding Specified Items, as
     described below                    $3.32             $2.84        16.9 3)

    Average Number of Common Shares
     Outstanding Plus Dilutive
     Common Stock Options and
     Awards                     1,560,753,000     1,560,057,000

    1) Other (income) expense, net, in 2008 includes a gain of $94 million in
       connection with the closing of the TAP Pharmaceutical Products Inc.
       joint venture transaction and gains of $63 million from the sale of
       equity investments in Millennium Pharmaceuticals and Boston Scientific.
       These items have been treated as specified items. The remainder of
       Other (income) expense, net, is primarily related to ongoing
       contractual payments from Takeda associated with the conclusion of the
       TAP joint venture. Other (income) expense, net, in 2007 is primarily
       associated with Abbott's ownership of Boston Scientific stock.

    2) Gain on sale of discontinued operations, net of tax, reflects the
       after-tax gain on the sale of the spine business, which closed during
       the fourth quarter. This gain has been treated as a specified item and
       excluded from ongoing earnings as noted below.

    3) 2008 Net Earnings Excluding Specified Items excludes a tax-free gain of
       $94 million, or $0.06 per share, recorded on the closing of the TAP
       joint venture transaction, a reduction in income taxes of $30 million,
       or $0.02 per share, relating to the settlement of an IRS audit, an
       after-tax gain of $49 million, or $0.03 per share, relating to sales of
       equity investments in Millennium Pharmaceuticals and Boston Scientific,
       and an after-tax gain of $147 million, or $0.09 per share, related to
       the sale of the spine business. These items were offset by after-tax
       charges of $76 million, or $0.05 per share, for acquired in-process
       research and development relating to technology investments, $283
       million, or $0.18 per share, for cost reduction initiatives, $183
       million, or $0.12 per share, for previously announced litigation
       settlements related to TriCor and $84 million, or $0.05 per share, for
       acquisition integration, TAP separation and other.

       2007 Net Earnings Excluding Specified Items excludes after-tax charges
       of $206 million, or $0.13 per share, for acquisition integration, $92
       million, or $0.06 per share, for a contract termination, $75 million,
       or $0.05 per share, for fair-value loss adjustments, net of realized
       gains, related to Boston Scientific stock, $60 million, or $0.04 per
       share, for write-down of Omnicef inventory, $17 million, or $0.01 per
       share, for transaction and separation costs relating to the terminated
       sale of the core laboratory diagnostics business, and $373 million, or
       $0.24 per share, for cost reduction initiatives and other.

NOTE: See attached questions and answers section for further explanation
of Consolidated Statement of Earnings line items.

    n/m = Percent change is not meaningful.

                             Questions & Answers

    Q1)  What drove the 9.8 percent increase in global pharmaceutical sales in
         the quarter?

    A1)  U.S. pharmaceutical sales increased 10.2 percent, reflecting
         double-digit growth for HUMIRA, Niaspan, Ultane and the
         TriCor/TRILIPIX franchise. U.S. HUMIRA sales increased more than 40
          percent, as strong market demand continued across the three major
          market segments of rheumatology, gastroenterology and dermatology.

         Also in the quarter, Abbott's lipid franchise performed well, with
         growth outpacing the overall cholesterol market as both Niaspan and
         the TriCor/TRILIPIX franchise achieved double-digit growth. Niaspan
         increased 23.8 percent with sales of $221 million. TriCor/TRILIPIX
         franchise sales increased 16.0 percent with sales of $455 million,
         including the launch of TRILIPIX.

         International pharmaceutical sales increased 9.5 percent, including a
         5.9 percent negative impact from exchange. International growth was
         driven by HUMIRA, which increased more than 40 percent, and was up
         nearly 50 percent excluding the negative impact of foreign exchange,
         consistent with the performance in previous quarters. Kaletra sales
         also contributed to growth in the quarter, driven by continued
         success of the tablet launch in international markets.

    Q2)  What drove the 15.6 percent increase in global medical products sales
         and strong global nutritional products sales?

    A2)  Medical products sales increased 15.6 percent, reflecting 58.9
         percent growth in worldwide vascular. In the diagnostic segment, the
         molecular business delivered continued double-digit sales growth.

         Abbott Vascular achieved record sales of $663 million, driven by
         drug-eluting stent (DES) franchise sales of $332 million. The
         substantial increase in vascular sales was due to the U.S. approval
         and successful launch of XIENCE V that began in July 2008. XIENCE V
         is now the market-leading DES in the U.S. and Europe. We have seen
         continued steady improvement in the U.S. DES market, with DES
         penetration in the mid-70s, up more than 15 percentage points from
         late 2007.

         Worldwide nutritional products sales increased 11 percent, led by
         15.6 percent growth in international nutritionals, including a 2.9
         percent negative impact from exchange. This reflects continued strong
         growth in key emerging markets, including Latin America and Asia,
         where Abbott is opening a new 500,000 square foot state-of-the-art
         nutritionals manufacturing facility in Singapore in the first
         quarter. U.S. nutritional sales increased nearly 7 percent, driven
         primarily by the successful launch of improved formulations of infant
         nutritionals.

    Q3)  How did specified items affect reported results?

    A3)  Specified items impacted fourth-quarter results as follows:

                                                       4Q08
    (dollars in millions, except
     earnings-per-share)                       Earnings
                                          Pre-tax   After-tax    EPS
    As reported                           $1,686     $1,536     $0.98
    Adjusted for specified items:
    Litigation settlements                  $226       $183     $0.12
    Cost reduction initiatives and other    $101        $83     $0.05
    Gain on sale of spine business, net
     of tax                                  ---      ($147)   ($0.09)
    As adjusted                           $2,013     $1,655     $1.06

      Litigation settlements relate to previously announced TriCor litigation
      that was resolved during the fourth quarter. Cost reduction initiatives
      includes previously announced actions to improve efficiencies, including
      efforts in the core diagnostic business. These charges were partially
      offset by a gain resulting from the sale of the spine business, which
      closed in the fourth quarter.

    The pre-tax impact of specified items by Consolidated Statement of
    Earnings line item is as follows (dollars in millions):

                                                         4Q08
                                                               Gain on
                                        Cost of                Sale of
                                        Products               Discontinued
                                        Sold      R&D   SG&A   Operations
    As reported                         $3,178   $732  $2,297    $147
    Adjusted for specified items:
    Litigation settlements                ---     ---   ($226)    ---
    Cost reduction initiatives and other  ($69)  ($13)   ($19)    ---
    Gain on sale of spine business, net
     of tax                               ---     ---     ---    ($147)
    As adjusted                         $3,109   $719  $2,052     ---

    Q4)  What drove the investment spending in the quarter?

    A4)  Combined investment in R&D and SG&A was up 14.3 percent, excluding
         specified items, and 19.2 percent on a reported basis.
         Higher-than-expected growth in SG&A included new and ongoing
         promotional initiatives across multiple businesses, including
         spending to support the nine new product approvals in 2008. This
         accelerated level of investment will support continued growth in
         2009. Growth in R&D expense reflected continued investment in our
         broad-based pipeline, including early-to mid-stage opportunities
         across a number of therapeutic areas, such as oncology, immunology,
         hepatitis C, neuroscience and vascular devices.

    Q5)  How does the fourth-quarter gross margin ratio compare to the
         company's guidance?

    A5)  The gross margin ratio before and after specified items is shown
         below (dollars in millions):

                                                       4Q08
                                          Cost of
                                          Products     Gross       Gross
                                          Sold         Margin      Margin %
    As reported                           $3,178       $4,772       60.0%
    Adjusted for specified items:
    Cost reduction initiatives and other    ($69)         $69        0.9%
    As adjusted                           $3,109       $4,841       60.9%

      The adjusted gross margin ratio was 60.9 percent, above our previous
      forecast, reflecting improved product mix and a favorable impact of
      foreign exchange on the ratio.

    Q6)  What was the tax rate in the quarter?

    A6)  The tax rate this quarter, excluding specified items, was 17.8
         percent. The tax rate for the full-year 2008, excluding specified
         items, was 20.0 percent, consistent with our previous guidance for
         the full year. As a reminder, the fourth-quarter tax rate included
         the full-year benefit of the U.S. R&D tax credit since it was enacted
         retroactively to the beginning of the year during the fourth quarter.
         The tax rate in the fourth quarter is expected to continue at
         approximately the same level into 2009. The reported tax rate is
         reconciled to the ongoing rate below:

                                                            4Q08
                                                 Pre-tax    Income    Tax
                                                 Income     Tax       Rate
    From continuing operations, as reported      $1,686     $296     17.6%
    Specified items                                $327      $63     19.0%
    From continuing operations, excluding
     specified items                             $2,013     $359     17.8%

    Q7)  What are some near-term opportunities from Abbott's broad-based
         pipeline?

    A7)  Abbott's late-stage pipeline generated nine new regulatory approvals
         in 2008. Many of these products are in the early stages of launch.
         Highlights of the near-term opportunities include:

    -- HUMIRA
       -- Psoriasis -- Launched in Europe and the U.S. in 2008.
       -- RA Japan -- Launched in 2008.
       -- Psoriasis Japan -- Indication filed, under regulatory review.
       -- Ulcerative colitis -- Currently in Phase III development.

    -- TRILIPIX - Received fourth-quarter approval of TRILIPIX, Abbott's
       next-generation fenofibrate. To support TRILIPIX, Abbott executed the
       largest clinical program to date to evaluate the efficacy and safety of
       a fibrate in combination with statins. Development continues on a
       fixed-dose combination of TRILIPIX and CRESTOR to address all three
       lipid parameters in a single pill. We plan to submit a New Drug
       Application for this fixed-dose combination in the second half of this
       year.

    -- Flutiform -- Flutiform, a combination asthma treatment in Phase III
       development, is targeted for an NDA filing in the first quarter of
       2009.

    -- ABT-874 -- In Immunology, Abbott's anti-IL-12/23 biologic, ABT-874, has
       demonstrated promising results in early studies for psoriasis and is
       also being explored as a treatment for Crohn's disease. ABT-874 is
       currently in Phase III development for psoriasis.

    -- Diabetes Care Pipeline -- The FreeStyle Freedom Lite no-calibration
       meter was launched in the United States in 2008. Abbott's FreeStyle
       Navigator Continuous Glucose Monitoring System was also approved and
       launched in the United States in the first quarter of 2008.

    -- XIENCE V -- In June 2008, Abbott submitted a marketing authorization
       license application in Japan to gain approval for XIENCE V to treat
       coronary artery disease. The application for XIENCE V consisted of
       safety and efficacy data from the SPIRIT III clinical trial, including
       data from a Japanese patient population. Abbott also expects to launch
       its next-generation XIENCE V DES in Europe in 2009.

    -- Core Laboratory Diagnostics -- In April 2008, Abbott introduced the
       ARCHITECT i1000SR immunochemistry analyzer in the United States,
       expanding its ARCHITECT family of diagnostic instrument systems for
       clinical laboratories. In 2009, we plan to introduce the ARCHITECT
       c4000(TM), a clinical chemistry analyzer designed for
       small-to-medium-sized labs. The c4000 is compatible with the i1000,
       which will allow seamless integration of clinical chemistry and
       immunoassay testing on one platform.

    Q8)  What are some early- and mid-stage opportunities in Abbott's
         broad-based pipeline?

    A8)  With the recent productivity of the late-stage pipeline, Abbott is
         now focused on advancing leading-edge scientific discoveries from its
         early-to mid-stage development pipeline across the company, where we
         continue to advance a number of compounds with breakthrough
         potential.

         Our pharmaceutical pipeline has increased in size, novelty and number
         of phase transitions. In 2008, Phase I or Phase II trial initiations
         are nearly double 2007 levels. We continue to focus our investment to
         discover new treatments across a spectrum of therapeutic areas.
         Select highlights include:

    -- Oncology
       -- Abbott's oncology pipeline includes targeted therapies that
          represent promising, unique scientific approaches to treating
          cancer. Our collaboration with Genentech to develop two Abbott-
          discovered compounds continues to progress. These compounds include
          ABT-869, a multi-targeted kinase inhibitor and ABT-263, a Bcl-2
          family protein antagonist.
       -- Abbott's oncology research also includes a PARP-inhibitor, which
          prevents DNA repair in cancer cells, enhancing the effectiveness of
          current cancer therapies.

    -- Neuroscience
       -- Abbott is conducting innovative research in neuroscience, where
          we've developed compounds that target receptors in the brain that
          help regulate mood, memory and other neurological functions to
          address conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,
          Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia. Abbott is also working to
          advance compounds that have the potential to meet the market need
          for a non-opioid pain therapy. Our work in neuroscience is focused
          on several promising investigational platforms including NNRs, H3,
          Calpain and TRPV1, among others.

    -- Immunology
       -- Abbott's scientific experience with the anti-TNF biologic HUMIRA
          serves as a strong foundation for our continuing research in
          immunology. Products in development for the treatment of
          immune-mediated diseases are designed to selectively inhibit
          proteins that are responsible for inflammation. In addition to our
          work with IL-12/23, we are working to advance development of our
          early discovery programs, including oral therapies, as well as other
          potential biologic targets.
       -- Additionally, our proprietary DVD-ig technology represents an
          innovative approach that can target multiple disease-causing
          antigens with a single biologic agent.

    -- Hepatitis C
       -- Abbott's antiviral program is focused on the treatment of hepatitis
          C, a disease that affects more than 170 million people worldwide.
          Abbott has several active hepatitis C programs including our
          partnership with Enanta Pharmaceuticals to develop protease
          inhibitors as well as an internal polymerase program.

    -- Bioabsorbable Drug-Eluting Stent
       -- Abbott has presented encouraging two-year data from the world's
          first clinical trial for a fully-bioabsorbable DES to treat coronary
          artery disease. The bioabsorbable DES is designed to be slowly
          metabolized by the body and completely absorbed over time.

SOURCE Abbott


Source: newswire