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Oct 18, 2012

On Eve of AbbVie Spinoff, Abbott Axes 550

  • Abbott Laboratories is laying off 550 employees across its vascular, branded generics, molecular diagnostics, and nutritionals businesses, and plans to eliminate "several hundred" additional workers next year, when it spins off its drug development operations.

    The 550 represent less than 1% of Abbott’s global workforce of about 91,000 employees. About 100 of the layoffs were in the Chicago area, mostly related to sales and marketing and operations personnel at the company's Lake County headquarters, the Chicago Tribune reported.

    Abbott disclosed the layoffs Wednesday in its third-quarter earnings report, where it noted a $478 million pretax charge toward the restructuring, including the 2013 job cuts and earlier layoffs. Abbott eliminated 700 jobs in January.

    During Q3, Abbott finished with net income of $1.94 billion, well above the $303 million recorded a year earlier, when it recorded a $1.4 billion charge for the cost of litigation over improper marketing of the anti-seizure drug Depakote. Sales dipped less than 1%, to $9.77 billion from $9.82 billion in Q3 2011, a decline the company attributed to unfavorable foreign exchange rates.

    On a conference call with analysts, Abbott Chairman and CEO Miles D. White said the company remains on track to spin out its proprietary drug development operations into a new company, to be named AbbVie, on January 1, 2013.

    AbbVie is forecast to generate $18 billion in sales next year; its best-selling product will be the blockbuster arthritis drug Humira, which racked up more than $2.3 billion in global sales during Q3, up from $2.1 billion in the year-ago quarter.

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