J&J's Q4 looked great for orthopedics, but less so for diabetes and Dx

Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) med tech sales produced solid gains in 2013 as a whole, but divisions such as diabetes care and diagnostics slumped in Q4.

For the year, the New Jersey-based healthcare products behemoth booked $28.5 billion in global sales for its devices and diagnostics arm, up nearly 4% over the previous year. J&J's $21.3 billion acquisition of orthopedics device giant Synthes in 2012 continued to reap some dividends there, reflected in the higher sales numbers, the company noted, minus the unloading of its DePuy trauma business.

Johnson & Johnson said that orthopedics, electrophysiology/cardiovascular care and vision and surgical products all drove sales during the year; they also grew at a healthy clip during Q4. But diabetes care and diagnostics division sales slumped by double digits in the U.S. during the 2013 fourth quarter and displayed sluggish sales internationally. Reimbursement and cost pressures played a role there. Recall and legal costs related to the company's ASR hips also continued to dog the company.

The poorer performing divisions put recent news at J&J in a clearer context. The company said earlier in January that global investment group Carlyle would buy its Ortho Clinical Diagnostics business for $4.15 billion, following rumors that the division's revenue growth had disappointed. Some observers also see J&J as gearing up to sell its struggling diabetes arm, which includes blood glucose meters and insulin pumps, and the new financial results will add fuel to the fire.

Overall, Johnson & Johnson generated $18.4 billion in sales during its 2013 fourth quarter and $3.5 billion in net earnings ($1.23 per share), up 4.5% over the same period last year.

For the year, J&J booked $71.3 billion in sales and $13.8 billion in net earnings.

- read the earnings release

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