News Diabetes equipment demand helps Abbott beat profit expectations

Jan 25 (Reuters) – Abbott Laboratories Inc (ABT.N) reported better-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday, boosted by strong demand for the U.S. healthcare company’s diagnostics business and blood sugar monitoring device FreeStyle Libre.

Abbott’s Freestyle Libre has been boosting sales of its medical devices, offsetting a decline in sales of COVID-19 diagnostic tests as infections waned.

Sales of the company’s FreeStyle Libre were $1.1 billion, with the US market growing more than 40 percent.

Still, Abbott’s nutrition business continues to be hit by disruptions to infant formula facilities in the first half of 2022.

The Michigan plant, which was at the center of a U.S. infant formula shortage last year, faced a criminal investigation by the Justice Department. The facility reopened after regulators and the company reached an agreement.

The Illinois-based company reported total nutrition sales of $1.82 billion on Wednesday, down 11% from a year earlier, with U.S. pediatric nutrition revenue down about a fifth.

Excluding one-time items, the multinational healthcare giant reported earnings of $1.03 a share for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, beating analysts’ average estimate of 92 cents.

The company also announced an adjusted earnings-per-share forecast of $4.30 to $4.50 for 2023, with the midpoint slightly missing analysts’ average estimate of $4.41.

Abbott shares fell 3 percent to $109 in premarket trading.

The company also forecasts its full-year 2023 organic sales growth (excluding sales related to COVID testing) to be in the high single digits.

It projects about $2 billion in annual sales related to COVID testing. In the fourth quarter, the company recorded $1.1 billion in COVID-related sales, about half of what it was last year.

Reporting by Leroy Leo and Pratik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Shirley Jacob-Phillips

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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