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Abbott Laboratories Beats Earnings on Strong Sales

Abbott Labs reported sales of its rapid coronavirus tests surged nearly 30% during its fourth-quarter results.
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Abbott Laboratories  (ABT) - Get Abbott Laboratories Report said Wednesday that its fourth-quarter sales benefited from a surge of nearly 30% for its Covid-19 rapid testing platforms.

Shares of the North Chicago, Ill. company were rising in premarket trading to $115.30.

Abbott Laboratories reported net earnings of $2.16 billion, or $1.20 a share, up from $1.05 billion, or 59 cents a share, a year ago. Adjusted earnings came to $1.45 a share, while analysts surveyed by FactSet were expecting $1.35.

Sales totaled $10.7 billion, up 28.7% from a year ago, and exceeded analysts' forecasts of $9.94 billion.

Sales include $2.4 billion of Covid-19 diagnostic testing-related sales, led by combined sales of $1.9 billion from Abbott's BinaxNOW, Panbio and ID NOW rapid testing platforms.

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On Tuesday, Abbott Labs said it had received approvals in Europe for its rapid Panbio antigen test.

Worldwide nutrition sales increased 3.6%. Strong performances by the nutritional drink Ensure and Glucerna, the company's diabetes nutrition brand, led to global adult nutrition sales growth of 11.5%. 

Pediatric nutrition saw a 5.2% increase in U.S. sales, led by share growth of Similac, the infant formula brand, but offset, the company said, "by challenging conditions in Greater China."

"Despite challenging conditions, we achieved double-digit EPS growth, delivered ground-breaking innovation and advanced our new product pipeline in 2020," Robert Ford, president and CEO, said in a statement. 

For the year ending in 2021, Abbott forecast earnings of at least $3.74 a share and adjusted earnings of $5 a share. Analysts are calling for earnings of $4.42 a share with $38.6 billion in sales.

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