Drug sales boost Johnson & Johnson’s profit

/ Source: The Associated Press

Health care giant Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday posted a 3.5 percent increase in fourth-quarter profit as higher sales, especially for consumer products overseas, were offset by costs of a major acquisition.

The New Brunswick, N.J.-based maker of contraceptives, contact lenses, prescription drugs and baby products reported net income of $2.17 billion, or 74 cents per share, up from $2.10 billion, or 70 cents per share, in 2005’s final quarter.

Excluding an after-tax charge of $217 million for the acquisition of Pfizer Consumer Healthcare late in the fourth quarter, income would have been $2.4 billion, or 81 cents per share, the company said.

Revenues totaled $13.68 billion, up 8.5 percent from $12.61 billion in the last quarter of 2005.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 79 cents per share and sales of $13.68 billion.

“Johnson & Johnson had a solid year in 2006, delivering double-digit growth in earnings per share while continuing to invest in building our businesses for the future,” William C. Weldon, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

“We’re very excited about the completion of the Pfizer Consumer Healthcare acquisition, which not only brings to Johnson & Johnson some of the world’s premier consumer brands, but also builds upon our broad base in human health care.”