Abbott slashes jobs at corporate headquarters

Abbott Laboratories ($ABT) laid off an unspecified number of workers at its headquarters on Tuesday. The decision is part of the company's plan to reduce expenses, according to a statement.

Abbott is making layoffs into something of a yearly tradition: Tuesday marks the Illinois company's third annual late-January firing, as several hundred workers were also let go in 2012 and 2013 due to corporate restructuring. The company took $347 million in charges associated with "cost reduction initiatives" in its 2013 fiscal year, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The announcement follows a disappointing fourth quarter: Although Abbott's diagnostic sales grew and medical device numbers increased during Q4 2013, net earnings went down 44% from fourth quarter 2012--the last before the company spun off its brand-name pharmaceuticals business into AbbVie ($ABBV). Abbott CFO Tom Freyman said the company "will take further actions to reduce our expenses" in 2014 in an effort to "get our support structure to appropriate levels," reported the Tribune.

However, the company expects more robust growth by mid-2014, it said in a statement. A slew of new diagnostic test approvals and product launches could help boost revenues and preserve the company's bottom line.

- here's the Chicago Tribune's take