It's earnings time, and a number of big players have announced their Q4 and yearly results, including Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) and 3M (MMM). And, perhaps not unexpectedly, pharma/device giant J&J had disappointing results. The company suffered one negative headline after another last year, and posted a 12 percent decline in profits and a 5.5 percent drop in sales.
J&J saw worldwide medical devices and diagnostics sales of $24.6 billion for the year, representing an increase of 4.4 percent over 2009. Domestic sales increased 3.6 percent, while international sales went up 5 percent. J&J pointed to Ethicon's surgical care products; Ethicon Endo-Surgery's minimally invasive and advanced sterilization products; DePuy's orthopaedic joint reconstruction and sports medicine businesses; Biosense Webster's electrophysiology business; Vistakon's disposable contact lenses; and Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics' products as drivers of growth. However, the company saw lower sales in the Cordis franchise, reflecting pressures in the drug-eluting stent market.
Q4 sales for the unit were $6.3 billion. But sales of joint-replacement parts declined; the company says this was the result of a weakened economy, Dow Jones notes.
Meanwhile, 3M reported Q4 sales of $6.7 billion, which is up 9.6 percent. But company shares fell reported lower profits on smaller margins, even though the company beat Wall Street estimates, as the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reports.
As CNBC reports, the company sells respirators and surgical masks and saw sales jump last year as a result of the H1N1 scare. The division's sales were up 5.9 percent during the quarter to $1.2 billion (5.2 percent for the year), including 4.3 percent from acquisitions. Last fall, the company moved to bolster its infection prevention division by buying Eden Prairie, MN-based Arizant, which creates warming products using forced air to prevent hypothermia during surgery.
3M also increased its 2011 earnings expectation to a range of $5.95 to $6.20 per share versus a prior expectation of $5.90 to $6.10, according to a statement.
In addition, the company's board plans to name a successor to CEO George Buckley later this year and hopes to name an insider as the next leader, Reuters notes. "The board has been looking at issues of transition very closely; we've been doing it for years," Buckley, said Tuesday on a conference call. "Unless I drop dead first, I'm going to work here as long as the board wants me to work here," Buckley said. "I'm not anxious to be going fishing just yet."