Q3 earnings: Abbott ups dividend, Actelion confirms growth, Baxter hurt by merger costs

The third-quarter earnings reports are rolling in, with those from Abbott, Actelion and Baxter among them. Abbott and Actelion's reports sent shares on the rise, with Abbott surprising investors with a sizable dividend boost and Actelion assuring shareholders it can deliver new profit streams before blockbuster Tracleer goes off patent in 2015. Baxter's report was a little less rosy, with earnings falling on acquisition costs.

  • Abbott's ($ABT) sales are certainly not what they used to be now that it no longer has the world's best-selling drug, rheumatoid arthritis treatment Humira, in its arsenal. But even accounting for that drug's departure, pharmaceutical sales saw a dropoff, sliding nearly 3%. And while revenues from the company's other segments helped offset that lag, sales of $5.37 billion still fell just shy of analysts' forecasts of $5.39 billion. Earnings for the quarter came in higher than expected, however, and a 57% dividend hike made for some happy shareholders. Abbott will boost the dividend to 22 cents from 14 cents, starting payment next February. Release | Report | More
     
  • The waiting continues for Actelion ($ATLN), which expects an FDA decision on its pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) drug Opsumit, a follow-up to blockbuster Tracleer, later this week. In the meantime, the company upped its profits on improved 9-month Tracleer revenue; sales of the drug rose 3% to CHF 1.138 billion Swiss francs ($1.24 billion). Those, along with lowered costs, helped raise profits to 105 million francs to best analysts' forecasts of CHF 88.5 million francs. With investors expecting an Opsumit approval, shares have jumped nearly 8% in the last week, Reuters reports, and the company confirmed its forecast for earnings to climb more than 10% this year. The news service notes some analysts have predicted a black box warning requiring liver testing on the drug, which could put a damper on sales. Release | Report | More
     
  • M&A took a toll on Baxter ($BAX) this quarter, with a $4 billion pickup of Sweden's Gambro weighing on sales. Leerink Swann analyst Danielle Antalffy attributed the miss in revenue, which came in about $40 million off analysts' consensus estimates, to the timing of the deal's close; Leerink, for one, assumed an Aug. 1 close, while the deal ended up closing Sept. 9. Still, she wrote in an investor note, "organic sales growth was solid" at about 6%--the most in 8 quarters. She noted strength in areas like hemophilia and vaccines, which partially offset slight misses in areas like specialty pharma. As far as profits, Baxter reported $544 million in earnings, down from $583 million in the year-ago quarter. Release | Report (sub. req.)

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