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Abbott Q3 Diagnostics Revenues Rise 48 Percent on Core Lab, Rapid Diagnostics Sales Growth

NEW YORK – Abbott reported Wednesday that its third quarter Diagnostics business revenues rose 48 percent year over year, mainly driven by sales in its Core Laboratory and Rapid Diagnostics businesses.

For the three months ended Sept. 30, the Abbott Park, Illinois-based firm reported overall revenues of $10.93 billion, up 24 percent on a reported basis from $8.85 billion a year ago and beating the consensus Wall Street estimate of $9.56 billion. The firm said that its organic sales, excluding the impact of foreign exchange, grew 22 percent year over year.

The company said its Diagnostics business revenues rose to $3.91 billion from $2.64 billion in the prior-year quarter. Within Diagnostics, Core Laboratory Q3 revenues rose 9 percent year over year to $1.29 billion from $1.18 billion; Molecular revenues fell 25 percent year over year to $345 million from $458 million; Point-of-Care revenues rose 3 percent year over year to $135 million from $131 million; and Rapid Diagnostics revenues rose 145 percent year over year to $2.14 billion from $875 million in the prior-year quarter.

The firm's global COVID-19 testing-related sales were $1.9 billion in the quarter, more than double the $881 million reported a year ago.

Even with vaccines for COVID-19, testing remains paramount in the effort to manage the disease and the pandemic, Abbott President and CEO Robert Ford said on a conference call to discuss the firm's financial results.

"Over the last several months, we've learned that COVID vaccines, while a powerful tool, are not the lone solution needed in our global fight against this virus," Ford said. "Testing, particularly rapid testing, which is fast, affordable, and easy to use, is an important companion to vaccines and therapeutics." 

In its other businesses, Nutrition revenues rose 10 percent to $2.11 billion from $1.92 billion; Established Pharmaceuticals rose 15 percent to $1.27 billion from $1.10 billion; and Medical Devices rose 15 percent to $3.63 billion from $3.17 billion.

Abbott reported net earnings of $2.10 billion, or $1.17 per share, in Q3 2021, compared to $1.23 billion, or $.69 per share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted EPS for the recently completed quarter was $1.40, beating the analysts' consensus estimate of $.94.

The firm spent $672 million on R&D in Q3 2021, up 16 percent from $580 million in Q3 2020, and logged $2.77 billion in SG&A expenses, up 20 percent from $2.30 billion in the prior-year quarter.

Abbott projects full-year 2021 EPS from continuing operations of $3.55 to $3.65. Adjusted EPS from continuing operations is expected to be between $5.00 and $5.10, the firm said.

"It's going to be very difficult as we go into next year to be able to forecast a ... full-year number [for COVID-19 testing]," Ford said on the conference call.

In a research note Wednesday Evercore ISI analyst Vijay Kumar said that within diagnostics, Abbott's core laboratory business grew by mid-single digits excluding the contribution from COVID-19 testing, "and is another point supporting the recovery" of its overall base business.

In early Wednesday morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, shares of Abbott were up more than 2 percent to $122.86.