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Johnson & Johnson Q4 profit rises; 2017 sales to grow

Johnson & Johnson said fourth-quarter net earnings rose 18.6% to $3.81 billion, or $1.38 per share, from a year earlier.

Excluding after-tax intangible amortization expense and special items, adjusted net earnings for the quarter were $4.36 billion, or $1.58 per share, representing year-over-year increases of 7.9% and 9.7%, respectively.

The S&P Capital IQ consensus normalized EPS estimate for the fourth quarter is $1.56.

Sales reached $18.1 billion during the period, up 1.7% from a year earlier.

For 2016, J&J reported net earnings of $16.5 billion, up 7.3% from a year earlier. Sales for the year reached $71.9 billion, up 2.6% from 2015.

The U.S. company, which sells medicines, devices and consumer products, said it expects to generate 2017 sales of between $74.1 billion and $74.8 billion, reflecting expected operational growth in the range of 4.0% to 5.0%. Excluding the impact of acquisitions and divestitures, operational sales growth is expected to be in the range of 3.0% to 3.5%.

J&J also said adjusted EPS for 2017 would be between $6.93 and $7.08, reflecting expected operational growth in the range of 4.8% to 7.0%. Adjusted earnings guidance excludes the impact of after-tax intangible amortization expense and special items.

The S&P Capital IQ consensus normalized EPS estimate for 2017 is $7.11.

As part of J&J's ongoing portfolio management, the company will evaluate potential strategic options, including joint ventures or a sale, for the Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Care Companies, specifically LifeScan Inc., Animas Corp. and Calibra Medical Inc. The company noted that there is no assurance that the process will result in any transaction or other strategic alternative of any kind.