Johnson & Johnson Q4 profit rises 14%, but revenue drops

Health care products maker Johnson & Johnson's jnj fourth-quarter profit rose 14%, topping Wall Street forecasts, but the company expects weaker results in 2009.

NJ&J earned $2.71 billion, or 97 cents a share, up from $2.37 billion, or 82 cents a share, during the same period a year prior. Revenue fell 4.9% to $15.18 billion.

Excluding charges and gains, the company said it earned 94 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected profit of 92 cents a share on revenue of $15.93 billion. The one-time items included a $225 million after-tax gain from litigation settlements.

"Fourth quarter sales missed across all divisions, both international and domestic," Leerink Swann analyst Rick Wise said in a research report.

Another U.S. drugmaker, Forest Laboratories frx, posted a 38% decline in quarterly profit Tuesday on charges for licensing new medicines, but shares rose because operating results far exceeded analyst targets thanks to lower-than-expected spending.

Looking ahead, J&J said it expects 2009 profit of $4.45 to $4.55 a share. Analysts expect profit of about $4.61 a share.

However, Johnson & Johnson noted that the analysts estimate excludes the impact of acquiring cosmetic product and breast implant maker Mentor, a deal expected to close in January that will dilute earnings by 3 cents to 5 cents. Johnson & Johnson included that impact in its forecasts.

The revenue drop, a rarity for J&J, was led by an 11% plunge in pharmaceutical sales to $5.7 billion. That decline was partly a result of a 41.4% drop in sales of the anti-psychotic Risperdal, which now has generic competition.

Medical-device sales fell 2%, to $5.6 billion. Consumer products eked out a 1.2% increase in sales to $3.9 billion, helped by the launch of allergy treatment Zyrtec as an over-the-counter medicine.

For the full year, net income jumped 22%, to $12.95 billion, while revenue rose 4.3%, to $63.75 billion.

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