Abbott Laboratories ABT
Q4 2010 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 01/26/2011

Operator: Welcome to Abbott's Fourth Quarter 2010 Earnings Conference Call. All participants will be able to listen-only until the question-and-answer portion of this call. This call is being recorded by Abbott. With the exception of any participant’s questions asked during the question-and-answer session, the entire call including the question-and-answer session is material copyrighted by Abbott. It cannot be recorded or rebroadcast without Abbott’s expressed written permission.

I would now like to introduce Mr. John Thomas, Vice President, Investor Relations and Public Affairs.

John B. Thomas - VP, IR and Public Affairs: Good morning, and thanks for joining us. Also on today’s call will be Miles White, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer; Tom Freyman, Executive Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer; and Larry Peepo, Divisional Vice President of Investor Relations.

Miles will provide his opening remarks and Tom will review the details of our fourth quarter results and our outlook for 2011.

I’ll then discuss the highlights of our major businesses. Following our comments, Miles, Tom, Larry, and I will take your questions.

Some statements made today may be forward-looking. Abbott cautions that these forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements. Factors that may affect Abbott’s operations are discussed in the Item 1A 'Risk Factors' to our Annual Report on Securities and Exchange Commission Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009, and in Item 1A 'Risk Factors' to our quarterly reports on Securities and Exchange Commission Form 10-Q for the quarters ended March 31, 2010 and September 30, 2010 and are incorporated by reference. We undertake no obligation to release publicly any revisions to forward-looking statements as a result of subsequent events or developments.

In today’s conference call, as we do in the past, non-GAAP financial measures will be used to help our investors understand Abbott’s ongoing business performance. These non-GAAP financial measures are reconciled with the comparable GAAP financial measure in our earnings news release and regulatory filings from today, which will be available on our website at

So, with that, it’s my pleasure to introduce Miles White. Miles?

Miles D. White - Chairman and CEO: Thanks, John. Good morning. This morning I'll review our 2010 performance as well as our outlook for 2011. Tom and John will walk you through the details of our fourth quarter and full year results as well as our 2011 outlook and then we'll take your questions. As you can see from our earnings news release, Abbott reported another year of industry-leading performance in 2010. Despite the strength of this performance, it was a challenging year for Abbott as it was for the entire healthcare industry and for the global economy.

In 2010, the healthcare industry as a whole faced a number of significant headwinds. These pressures have been well documented and include the slow recovery of the global economy, the costs associated with U.S. Healthcare Reform, European pricing pressures and austerity measures in a regulatory environment in which it's frankly more difficult to get products approved.

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