Abbott Laboratories (ABT - Get Report) posted modestly stronger-than-expected first quarter earnings Wednesday and boosted its dividend payment thanks in part to strong sales of its new glucose monitoring system.

Abbott said adjusted earnings for the three months ending in March came in at 59 cents a share, just edging ahead of the 58 cent Wall Street consensus and up 22.9% from the same period last year. Sales for the quarter also topped estimates, rising 16.7% to $739 billion. The Abbott Park, Ill.-based group also said it expects to see adjusted earnings of between 70 cents and 72 cents a share for the current quarter, a range that fall largely in line with Wall Street estimates, and full-year earnings of between $2.80 to $2.90 a share. It also indicated it would pay a quarterly dividend of 28 cents a share, extending its run of increasing payouts to 46 years.

"We're off to a strong start to the year as we forecasted," said CEO Miles White. "We're particularly pleased with the continued strong growth in Medical Devices and improving performance in our Nutrition business."

Action Alerts PLUS holding Abbott Laboratories shares edged 0.07% higher in pre-market trading in New York, indicating an opening bell price of $59.81 each, a move that would take its year-to-date advance to 1.4%.

Organic sales growth in the group's key Diabetes Care division rose 32.9% from the same period last year, the company said, thanks in part to its new FreeStyle Libre glucose monitoring system. Medical Devices sales, the group's biggest revenue driver, rose 9.4% on a like-for-like basis to $2.74 billion, the company said.

Abbott clinched approval in September from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for FreeStyle Libre. The company in January announced that that the product obtained reimbursement from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.