10-15-13 8:45 AM EDT | Email Article

Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) third-quarter earnings edged up slightly as the health-products giant again was buoyed by new prescription drugs as it seeks to replace older blockbusters that have lost patent protection.

For the year, J&J raised its per-share earnings estimate to $5.44 to $5.49, from its previous estimate of $5.40 to $5.45.

The New Brunswick, N.J., health-products maker has been trying to recover from a long string of recalls for a variety of products including Tylenol, which have cost it hundreds of millions of dollars in sales and prompted close government oversight of some factories.

Like other major drug makers, J&J has been realigning its portfolio as it aims to fill its product development pipeline and boost its profit. In July, J&J reached a $185 million deal to sell its feminine hygiene brands in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean to Energizer Holdings Inc. (ENR). More recently The Wall Street Journal reported that it was looking for a buyer for its Ortho Clinical Diagnostics blood-testing division, which could be valued at about $5 billion.

J&J's pharmaceuticals business has been benefiting from the introduction of new drugs such as prostate-cancer treatment Zytiga and bloodthinner Xarelto. In the latest quarter, pharmaceutical sales were up 9.9% to $7 billion.

J&J reported a profit of $2.98 billion, up from $2.96 billion a year earlier. Per-share earnings slipped by one cent to $1.04. Excluding charges related to last year's acquisition of trauma-device maker Synthes, litigation-related impacts and other items, adjusted earnings were up at $1.36 from $1.25. Revenue increased 3.1% to $17.6 billion. Excluding currency impacts, the growth was 4.7%.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters recently expected per-share earnings of $1.32 and revenue of $17.44 billion.

Shares were up 1.7% at $91.30 in recent premarket trading. Through the close, the stock is up 28% this year.

Write to Tess Stynes at tess.stynes@wsj.com


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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 15, 2013 08:45 ET (12:45 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2013 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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