Abbott first-quarter profit surges on COVID-19 test demand

Abbott and rivals Quest Diagnostics and Becton Dickinson and Co have benefited from heightened COVID-19 testing

  
Boxes of Abbott's heart stents are pictured inside a store at a hospital in New Delhi, India, April 27, 2018.

Boxes of Abbott's heart stents are pictured inside a store at a hospital in New Delhi, India, April 27, 2018.

Reuters/Adnan Abidi

Abbott Laboratories reported a more than threefold jump in quarterly profit on Tuesday, buoyed by robust demand for its COVID-19 test kits and a recovery in its medical devices business.

Abbott and rivals Quest Diagnostics and Becton Dickinson and Co have benefited from heightened COVID-19 testing, a revenue stream that helped blunt the blow from lower demand for medical devices during the early phase of the crisis.

A recovery in medical device sales as vaccinations encourage patients to opt for elective surgeries put off during the pandemic is now energizing the companies' top line.

In the latest quarter, Abbott's COVID-19 test kits generated sales of $2.2 billion and accounted for more than half of its diagnostic unit's revenue.

Worldwide nutrition sales increased 6.9% in the quarter, while medical device sales increased 13.1%, led by Abbott's blood sugar monitoring device, FreeStyle Libre. The company reiterated its 2021 adjusted diluted earnings per share outlook of at least $5.00. Net earnings rose to $1.8 billion, or $1 per share, in the first quarter ended March 31, from $564 million, or 31 cents per share, a year earlier.

Net sales increased to $10.5 billion from $7.73 billion.

(Reporting by Amruta Khandekar and Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila) ((Amruta.Khandekar@thomsonreuters.com;))

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