Updated at 9:38 am EST
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) - Get Johnson & Johnson Report posted stronger-than-expected fourth quarter earnings Tuesday while noting that sales of its single-shot Covid vaccine could rise to around $3.5 billion this year.
Johnson & Johnson said adjusted earnings for the three months ending in December were pegged at $2.13 per share, up 14.5% from the same period last year and one penny ahead of the Street consensus forecast. Group revenues, Johnson & Johnson said, rose 10.4% to $24.8 billion, a figure that missed analysts' estimates of a $25.29 billion tally thanks to weakness in pharmaceutical and medical devise sales.
Looking into the 2022 financial year, Johnson & Johnson said it sees adjusted earnings in the region of $10.40 to $10.60 per share, compared to the Refinitv forecast of $10.35, with sales -- including vaccines -- in the region of $98.9 billion to $100.4 billion.
Covid vaccine sales, Johnson & Johnson said, should rise to between $3 billion and $3.5 billion.
"Our 2021 performance reflects continued strength across all segments of our business. Guided by Our Credo, I am honored to assume the role of CEO, leading our global teams in continuing our work to deliver life-changing solutions to consumers, patients, and health care providers" said new Joaquin Duato. "Given our strong results, financial profile, and innovative pipeline we are well positioned for success in 2022 and beyond."
Johnson & Johnson shares were marked 0.8% higher in early trading following the earnings release to change hands at $164.50 each, a move that would trim the stock's six-month decline to around 4.4%.
Johnson & Johnson saidin late November that it will spin-off its consumer health division -- which includes brands such as Band-Aid, Baby Powder and Tylenol and is likely to generate $15 billion in revenues this year -- from its pharmaceutical and medical devices division over the next 18 to 24 months.
Moody's Investors Services said Johnson & Johnson may lose its coveted triple-A credit rating following the spin-off, leaving Microsoft MSFT as the only American company with the highest debt grade.
Liabilities tied to court rulings on tac product liability, which are likely to remain with the consumer health group, would also "represent an overhang to J&J's otherwise excellent credit quality."
Johnson & Johnson noted in October that costs linked to defending 40,000 cases linked to allegations that its Baby Powder, and other talc-based products, contained cancer-causing asbestos are close to $1 billion. Another $3.5 billion has been tied to previous verdicts and settlements.