J&J Earnings Climb but Company Expects a Lackluster Year

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J&J Earnings Climb but Company Expects a Lackluster Year

by Lynn Shapiro, Writer | January 21, 2009
Decoding Wall Street's mixed signals
Johnson & Johnson said fourth-quarter net income climbed 14 percent but that its 2009 outlook would fall below Wall Street's estimates, proving that even healthcare--one of the most non-cyclical sectors in the economy--will be affected by the current recession.

The healthcare behemoth reported net income of $2.71 billion, or 97 cents a share, for last year's fourth quarter, up from $2.37 billion, or 82 cents a share, for the year-earlier period.

Revenues slid 4.9 percent to $15.18 billion. Approximately 4 percent of the decline was due to the stronger dollar, the company said. US sales dropped 6.9 percent for the last quarter of 2008, while international sales slipped 2.7 percent.

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For 2009, J&J said it expects earnings of $4.45 a share to $4.55, while Thomson Reuters, an earnings forecaster, had predicted the company would earn $4.61 a share.

J&J said that Thomson's estimate excluded the acquisition of Mentor Corporation, which will dilute earnings by 3 cents to 5 cents, when the merger is finalized this month. Mentor makes breast implants and other cosmetic products.

Drugs and Medical Devices

Sales of pharmaceuticals, the company's largest business, fell 11 percent to $5.7 billion. The company's blockbuster, anti-psychotic drug, Risperdal, lost patent protection in June, hammering drug sales. Risperdal sales dropped 67 percent for the quarter.

Medical device sales slipped 2 percent, to $5.6 billion. Consumer products sales edged up by 1.2 percent, on sales of $3.9 billion, aided by the launch of the popular allergy treatment Zyrtec, as an over-the-counter medicine.

For the year, net income rose 22 percent, to $12.95 billion. Revenue climbed 4.3 percent, to $63.75 billion.