Johnson & Johnson cautious in outlook, shops diabetes care

Johnson & Johnson edged above fourth-quarter profit expectations, helped by consumer goods and pharmaceutical growth, but the world's biggest health care products company also gave Wall Street a softer-than-expected 2017 earnings forecast.

The maker of Band-Aids and prescription drugs also said Tuesday it was taking another step in restructuring its medical device segment by shopping its diabetes care businesses, which make test strips and insulin pumps, among other products.

Johnson & Johnson said it is seeking a possible sale, joint venture or operating partnerships for LifeScan Inc., Animas Corp. and Calibra Medical Inc. to spark future growth and maximize shareholder value. The company will continue to sell its diabetes treatment Invokana and focus on treating the disease in areas like bariatric surgery.

"I want to be clear, we still are very interested in diabetes," Chairman and CEO Alex Gorsky told analysts during a conference call.

J&J said last year that it planned to restructure its underperforming medical devices business. Sales from that segment came in nearly flat at $6.44 billion in the fourth quarter.

But revenue from other parts of the company grew, helped in part by acquisitions. J&J made several deals in 2016, including a $3.3-billion purchase of hair and personal products maker Vogue International LLC.

An 18-percent surge in beauty product sales helped worldwide sales of J&J's consumer segment grow 3.4 percent to $3.43 billion.

Pharmaceutical revenue climbed 2.1 percent to $8.23 billion even though sales of top-seller Remicade slipped.

The biologic immune disorder drug's revenue dropped 3.3 percent to $1.62 billion in the quarter. Remicade treats rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, Crohn's disease and colitis and has made tens of billions of dollars for J&J since its 1998 launch. But it is facing competition from Pfizer's Inflectra, a near-copy of the injected biologic drug.

Overall, J&J's profit jumped 19 percent to $3.81 billion in the final quarter of 2016. Adjusted earnings came in at $1.58 per share.

That topped average analyst expectations by 2 cents, according to Zacks Investment Research.

Revenue climbed about 1.7 percent to $18.11 billion in the period, which matched Street forecasts.

J&J said Tuesday that it expected full-year adjusted earnings of $6.93 to $7.08 per share on $74.1 billion to $74.8 billion in sales.

Analysts expect, on average, earnings of $7.11 per share on $75.07 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.

Shares of the New Brunswick, New Jersey, company fell more than 2 percent, or $2.64, to $111.31 in midday trading Tuesday, while broader indexes rose slightly. The company's shares had climbed around 19 percent in the last 12 months.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on JNJ at https://www.zacks.com/ap/JNJ

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Keywords: Johnson & Johnson, Earnings Report, Priority Earnings

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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