A Medical Device Daily

Johnson & Johnson (J&J; New Brunswick, New Jersey) posted a 79% increase in fourth-quarter profit, mainly due to lower overhead costs and a large tax charge a year ago, it said. The company said that net income totaled $2.2 billion, or 73 cents per share, for the three months ended Dec. 31 vs. $1.2 billion, or 41 cents a share, a year ago.

The year-earlier figures were depressed by a $789 million charge for repatriating foreign profits. It would have earned $2 billion, or 67 cents per share without that charge.

The company said sales for the quarter dipped slightly, to $12.61 billion, from $12.75 billion a year earlier.

Perhaps the biggest news, however, was what was left unsaid, as the company did not at least not as this issue closed announce a rumored new offer for Guidant (Indianapolis) in the face of competitor Boston Scientific's (Natick, Massachusetts) most recent $80-a-share bid.

J&J had until midnight Tuesday to make an offer to best what Guidant's board has labeled the “superior“ offer of Boston Scientific, which was valued at about $27.2 billion vs. J&J's most recent offer of $24.2 billion, or $71 a share.

Worldwide, J&J's Medical Devices and Diagnostics segment achieved annual sales of $19.1 billion in 2005, representing an increase over the prior year of 13.1%, with operational growth of 12.5% and a positive impact from currency of .6%. Domestic sales increased 10.6%, while international sales increased 15.7% (14.5% from operations and 1.2% from currency).

Worldwide pharmaceutical sales of $22.3 billion for the full year 2005 represented an increase of .9% vs. the prior year, with operational growth of .4% and a positive impact from currency of .5%. Domestic sales decreased 3.2%, while international sales increased 9.4% (7.8% from operations and 1.6% from currency).

Global sales of prescription drugs fell 6.1% in the quarter to $5.48 billion, while sales of medical devices rose 3.7% to $4.82 billion. Sales of consumer products, which include Band-Aids and the Tylenol painkiller, rose 2% to $2.31 billion.

“The year 2005 was a solid one for Johnson & Johnson, despite significant challenges,“ said William Weldon, chairman and CEO. “We delivered excellent full-year earnings results, while continuing to make the major investments that will fuel future growth.“

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