Chicago-based Abbott, which generated double-digit growth in its nutritionals division in the third quarter, plans a “cadence of new product launches” in the coming months.
Immunity, cognition, lean body mass, inflammation, metabolism and tolerance
The focus will be on six areas: Immunity, cognition, lean body mass, inflammation, metabolism and tolerance, said Abbott, which became the latest consumer products giant to engage in some hardcore corporate re-engineering last week after unveiling plans to split itself into two.
In a conference call with analysts last week, chief executive Miles White said the Nutritionals business – which includes sports nutrition brands EAS Myoplex and AdvantEGDE, weight management brands Zone Perfect and Glucerna and infant nutrition brand Similac – was on course to maintain double-digit growth rates driven by strong sales in China, India and Brazil.
He added: “We expect to launch a number of new products and formulations to consumers in 2011 and are currently conducting 30 well-controlled clinical trials to demonstrate proven clinical outcomes with our nutrition innovation.”
China, India and Brazil
While revenues in Abbott's nutritionals business grew by 12.6% in the three months to September 30, much of the growth was coming from emerging markets, with sales of adult nutritionals in the US down 1.1%.
But growth was “particularly strong growth in Asia and Latin America, where we are expanding our presence and gaining share with the introduction of new products”, said White.
“We expect to grow our worldwide Nutritional sales at a double-digit pace, with a cadence of new product launches and increased penetration in key international markets such as China, India and Brazil. We'll also significantly improve both the gross margin and operating margin profile of this business.”
Breaking up its business into an $18bn research-based drugs division (which makes anti-inflammatory drug Humira and cholesterol-lowering drug Niapan) and a $22bn diversified medical products division (which makes generic drugs, medical implants, diagnostic tests drugs and nutritional products) made sense, said White.
“These two investments make sense separately and both are of a critical mass and size that they have great sustainability going forward as independent companies.
“One is dependent on big products, one is dependent on hundreds or thousands of products over time. The diverse company will be dependent on a lot of market growth and international expansion. The pharmaceutical company is still quite heavily a developed market company and it will too have emerging market opportunities, but it's very much a developed market game.”