Abbott: 2009 Annual Shareholders Meeting Remarks And Presentations
Miles D. White
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Annual Shareholders Meeting
April 24, 2009
[Slide 1: Title]
As many of you know, Abbott had another truly outstanding year in 2008, across all of
our major businesses — medical devices, nutritional products, diagnostics and
pharmaceuticals. We delivered on our strategic, operational and financial goals, including
double-digit sales and earnings growth, we strengthened our leadership positions across
our range of global businesses, and we executed a record nine major new product
And we delivered this performance against the backdrop of very challenging business
conditions caused by the ongoing global economic downturn. We take very seriously the
hard lessons of this situation, and we’re navigating it successfully by doing what we’ve
done for more than 120 years — prudently and responsibly managing our business.
We’re fortunate to be in the health care industry, which, because of the importance of our
products, is less susceptible than most to broader economic conditions. And Abbott is in a
particularly strong position, even compared to our industry. The steps we’ve taken in
recent years to strengthen our company with a diverse mix of businesses stand us in very
good stead for these times. Because we’ve diversified into many of health care’s most
attractive markets, and because we’re delivering important new technologies in each of
them – we’ve been able to maintain healthy growth.
This is not to suggest that we’re entirely immune from this situation – in a recession of
this magnitude no one can be. And, while we were virtually untouched by the economic
downturn in 2008, we have begun to feel it somewhat in 2009.
Also this year, the Obama administration has signaled its intent to achieve comprehensive
health care reform in the U.S. It’s our expectation that change will come to the U.S.
health care system in order to extend coverage to the 45 million Americans currently
without health insurance. We support the goal of extending access for the uninsured, and
we will work actively to reach solutions that address the gaps in our system while
preserving its strengths, namely: choice, quality, and innovation.
Despite these factors, our business and our prospects remain very strong and we expect to
meet performance goals in 2009 that will continue our positive trend of recent years.
This morning, I’ll show you how we’ve maintained our performance and how favorably
that performance compares to other companies’. First, I’ll review our businesses and the
results they’ve delivered. Then, we’ll look at our new product pipeline, the source of our
future growth. And I’ll conclude by reviewing our success in operating responsibly and
sustainably as a leading citizen of our communities.
Let’s start with our 2008 financial results.
[SLIDE 2: Total Sales]
Worldwide sales rose 14 percent over 2007 to nearly $30 billion. 48 percent of our sales
were in the U.S. and 52 percent were from the rest of the world. This marks a 63 percent
increase in sales over the last 5 years.
[SLIDE 3: Full Year Results]
That growth was driven by strong performances across our businesses on a global basis:
• Pharmaceutical sales were up more than 14 percent to nearly $17 billion.
• Nutritional sales were up more than 12 percent to nearly $5 billion.
• Diagnostics sales rose more than 13 percent to nearly $3.6 billion.
• And Vascular sales were up nearly 35 percent to more than $2 billion, driven by the
U.S. launch of our Xience V drug-eluting stent.
That’s remarkably strong, balanced growth, across our diverse business portfolio.
Let’s look at the elements of that performance.
[SLIDE 4: Net Earnings Growth]
Our net earnings rose to $5.2 billion, an increase of 17 percent over the previous year and
almost 53 percent over the last five years.
[SLIDE 5: Earnings Per Share Growth]
Based on the strength of our performance, we increased our earnings-per-share outlook
twice last year, ultimately delivering a 17 percent increase, to $3.32 per share. Over the
last five years our EPS has risen by 54 percent.
In 2008, we generated record operating cash flow, which allowed us to repurchase more
than $1 billion dollars’ worth of Abbott stock. And, last October, our Board of Directors
authorized a new, $5 billion share repurchase program.
[SLIDE 6: Dividend Growth]
In 2008, the Board of Directors increased the quarterly common dividend by 11 percent,
effectively returning more than $2 billion in cash to our shareholders. Over the last five
years our dividend growth has risen nearly 39 percent.
[SLIDE 7: 36 Consecutive Years of Dividend Increases]
2008 marked our 36th consecutive year of rising dividends. Abbott has now paid 340
consecutive quarterly dividends since 1924. And, in February 2009, we announced
another 11 percent increase to our quarterly dividend. The cash dividend is payable to
shareholders on May 15.
This is even more impressive when you consider the current environment, as the market
has recently seen the greatest reduction in dividends since 1955. More than 300
companies cut or suspended dividends in the first quarter of 2009.
As a result of our record, Abbott was named a top performer on the Standard & Poor’s
500 Dividend Aristocrats Index, which tracks companies that have annually increased
their dividend for at least 25 consecutive years. Only 10 percent of companies on the
S&P 500 are on this list.
[SLIDE 8: 2008 Stock Performance v. Peer Group]
We had the second best stock performance in our peer group in 2008, behind only
Amgen. I should point out that Amgen was coming off of two years of significant stock
decline, while we were following two high-growth years.
For context, our stock was down five percent for the year, while the Dow Jones Industrial
Average was down 34 percent, the S&P 500 index was down more than 38 percent, and
the S&P Health Care index was down more than 24 percent. So, you can see, in general
our industry did better than the market and we did much better than our industry.
[SLIDE 9: Total Return since 2000]
Abbott is the blue line, on top, in this chart. Since 2000, this combination of steady stock
price performance and rising dividends gave our shareholders a total return on their
investment of more than 41 percent. This is compared to a decline of almost 21 percent
for both the S&P 500 index and the S&P Health Care index, and a decline of 34 percent
for the S&P Pharma index.
[SLIDE 10: 2008 Total Return v. Peer Group]
In 2008, our total return – the combination of stock price appreciation plus dividends --
was second best in our peer group of companies. We were down just 2.5 percent, which,
in this environment, was a show of strength.
[SLIDE 11: 3-year Total Return v. Peer Group]
When we look at our total return over a three-year period, we’re at the top, delivering a
total return of 46 percent, compared to a decline of 23 percent for the S&P 500 Index,
and a decline of 11 percent for the S&P Health Care index.
As you can see, only four other companies in the peer group have provided any positive
return over the last three years. We’ve delivered more than double the return of Bristol
Myers at number two, and more than six times the return of Johnson & Johnson at
[SLIDE 12: 5-year Total Return v. Peer Group]
Abbott has also provided its shareholders the best total return of any company in our
group over the past five years.
[SLIDE 13: Q1 Results]
As I mentioned earlier, we have begun to see some effect of the economic situation in our
business this year. This was reflected in the first-quarter results we announced last week.
Nonetheless, our underlying business performance in the quarter was strong under current
conditions, and underscored the strength of our position and the soundness of our
diversified business strategy.
First-quarter global operational sales – our sales before adjusting for foreign exchange,
which provides a truer sense of actual business performance -- were up more than five
percent, driven by worldwide Vascular sales, which rose 47 percent , international
nutritionals, which rose by almost 18 percent, and international pharmaceuticals, which
rose more than 12 percent. And we delivered this growth while one of our largest
products, the neuroscience medication Depakote, went generic. And our earnings-per-
share increased 16 percent over 2008. We also confirmed our double-digit EPS growth
outlook for the full year.
Now, I’ll walk you through some of the major highlights from our businesses in 2008.
[SLIDE 14: Abbott Pharmaceuticals]
I’ll start with our largest business, Pharmaceuticals, which had another outstanding year
[SLIDE 15: Immunology]
In Immunology, Humira is now approved for six indications and holds the number two
share position in the overall biologics market worldwide.
Since its launch, we’ve received literally stacks of letters from patients, telling us how
Humira has given them their lives back after struggling for years with the debilitating
effects of diseases that used to be beyond the reach of medical science.
In 2008, Humira was approved for two new indications: psoriasis and juvenile idiopathic
arthritis, painful diseases that can lead to damage of the joints and hinder a patient’s
ability to perform daily activities.
Longer term, a considerable opportunity remains for Humira with the ongoing launches
of Crohn’s and psoriasis, as well as increases in biologic penetration worldwide. Because
it treats so many conditions, Humira tends to receive a somewhat disproportionate
amount of attention. While Humira’s potential remains significant, there is much more to
our pharma story.
[SLIDE 16: Virology]
In our Virology franchise, Kaletra is a well-established therapy and remains a cornerstone
in the treatment of HIV. In 2008, Kaletra/Aluvia tablets were available, filed or approved
in 161 countries, which include 95 percent of the developing world's HIV population.
And we launched a new, lower-strength tablet, the first and only co-formulated protease
inhibitor tablet approved for use in children with HIV.
[Slide 17: Lipid Management]
We’ve established Abbott as a significant player in the U.S. cholesterol market to address
cardiovascular disease. Abbott is uniquely positioned because our lipid management
product portfolio addresses the three lipid parameters that contribute to this disease: high
triglycerides, low HDL (the good cholesterol), and high LDL (the bad cholesterol).
Our portfolio in the world’s largest pharmaceutical market is strong, including Niaspan,
the number-one medication for raising HDL, Simcor, which combines the LDL-lowering
effects of a statin with the HDL-raising benefits of Niaspan in one tablet, and the best
triglyceride-reducing therapies available with TriCor and Trilipix, the new fenofibrate we
launched last year.
The opportunity for growth in this market is significant -- which is why we began our co-
promotion of AstraZeneca’s Crestor last year. We’re also working with them to develop
a Trilipix/Crestor fixed-dose combination to address all three lipid parameters in a single
pill. This compound is currently in phase three development and on track for U.S.
regulatory submission during the third quarter of this year.
[Slide 18: Abbott Nutrition]
Our nutrition business also had a strong year, characterized by double-digit international
growth, market share gains in the U.S., and the introduction of important new products.
[Slide 19: Abbott Nutritional Products]
In the U.S., we launched Similac Advance EarlyShield, a new and improved formulation.
It’s the first and only infant formula with a unique blend of nutrients to support a baby’s
natural immune system. We also introduced our new SimplePac packaging, which was
designed with convenience features that make the product easier to use. And last year, we
expanded our line of ZonePerfect Nutrition Bars with a line of dark chocolate products.
Outside the U.S., as personal incomes increase in markets such as China and Southeast
Asia, parents seek better nutrition for their children. This has led to increased demand for
our high-quality nutritional products. We expect strong, double-digit growth in our
international nutritionals business to continue over the next several years.
To keep pace with rising demand in the Asia-Pacific region, this year we dedicated a
new, 500,000 square foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Singapore.
[Slide 20: Diagnostics]
Now let’s move to Diagnostics.
[Slide 21: Abbott Diagnostics]
In our core laboratory diagnostics business, Abbott remains the global leader. We
expanded our Architect menu, which helped to drive growth worldwide. We also
continued the rollout of our new Architect i1000 immunoassay system for lower-volume
This summer we plan to introduce the Architect c4000, a clinical chemistry analyzer for
low- to mid-volume laboratories. We also saw continued growth of both our PRISM
blood-screening instrument and our Architect system.
In our point-of-care diagnostics business, the i-STAT system is now used in one out of
every three U.S. hospitals and in more than 500 emergency rooms.
We’ve seen improved margins in our core diagnostics business and we anticipate
doubling profit and cash flow over the next few years.
[Slide 22: Molecular Diagnostics]
In our Molecular Diagnostics business, our competitive technologies have helped us grow
sales twice as fast as the market. This is due in large part to the continued success of our
m2000 molecular testing system in Europe and the United States.
We also acquired Ibis Biosciences, expanding our molecular diagnostics technology
portfolio, particularly in the area of infectious disease testing. Its innovative technology
platform, the T5000 Biosensor System, has the unique ability to identify a broad range of
infectious organisms in a sample without needing to know beforehand which organisms
might be present.
[Slide 23: Abbott Medical Devices]
And, finally, our Medical Device businesses.
[Slide 24: Abbott Diabetes Care]
Diabetes is a leading cause of kidney failure, blindness and amputations, and a major
cause of heart disease and stroke. Globally, more than 170 million people have diabetes,
and the prevalence is expected to increase at a high rate over the next ten years. Our
product line is strong, and we enhanced it in 2008 with the launch of our innovative
FreeStyle Lite and FreeStyle Freedom Lite glucose monitors.
[Slide 25: Abbott Vascular]
And our Vascular care business delivered one of our biggest stories -- and growth drivers
-- of 2008 with the U.S. launch of our drug-eluting stent, Xience V, for the treatment of
coronary artery disease. An estimated seven million people worldwide die each year from
this disease — the number one killer in the U.S.
Within three months of its launch, we had the number one product in the U.S. market.
Xience is also the leading drug-eluting stent in Europe. And growth potential for Xience
remains, as we expect 2009 approval and a 2010 launch in Japan. Recent, long-term data
has demonstrated that Xience V continues to outperform the previous market leader in
reducing heart attacks and related deaths.
[SLIDE 26: Research & Development]
2008 was also an outstanding year for Abbott science and engineering. Cancer, heart
disease, autoimmune disorders, hepatitis, and Alzheimer’s disease are among today’s
most serious threats to a long and healthy life, and are key focus areas for Abbott
research and development.
We continue to invest at a high rate to build our diverse R&D pipeline. With our nine
new product launches last year alone, we’re now focused on our early- to mid-stage
opportunities, where we’ve seen productivity improvements, and have nearly doubled our
Phase I and Phase II starts. Many of the compounds in our pharmaceutical pipeline
represent truly novel science and, if successful, would result in significant advances in
treatment for patients.
In neuroscience, we’re doing leading work and advancing novel compounds for
conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and pain. In oncology, our
program focuses on unique, less toxic treatments for cancer, with mechanisms to inhibit
tumor growth and improve the response to common cancer therapies. In immunology,
our new biologic agent for psoriasis and Crohn’s disease is in Phase III studies. In
infectious disease, we’re focused on the development of protease and polymerase
inhibitors for hepatitis C, and have several compounds in early development. The
hepatitis C virus affects approximately 180 million people worldwide.
Turning to Medical Products, we continue to develop more sensitive molecular testing
that can predict which patients are likely to benefit most from a particular therapy.
In Vascular, we’re working on a next-generation drug-eluting stent platform, called
Xience Prime, to further improve deliverability, especially in longer lesion lengths. We
expect to launch Xience Prime in Europe later this year. And we continue to lead the
world in developing a bioabsorbable drug-eluting coronary stent. We’re the only
company with long-term clinical data evaluating the safety and performance of this next-
[SLIDE 27: Strengthening our Business Portfolio]
While our strong pipeline provides an internal driver of growth, we continue to augment
and refine our business portfolio through strategic acquisitions, partnerships and
Last year we concluded our extremely successful TAP joint venture with Takeda, with an
equal division of assets. This agreement added Lupron to our pharmaceuticals business,
which strengthens our position in cancer therapeutics. As part of the agreement, we will
also receive substantial cash payments from Takeda.
As I mentioned, we expanded our position in molecular diagnostics with our recent
acquisition of Ibis Biosciences.
And we divested our small spinal implant business in order to focus on our core segments
and other new opportunities more in keeping with our portfolio, such as our latest
acquisition, Advanced Medical Optics, a very promising new line of business for us.
[Slide 28: Abbott Medical Optics]
Now called Abbott Medical Optics, AMO is an established global leader in the large and
growing $22 billion vision care market. This acquisition further strengthens Abbott’s
Medical Devices business, adding a market-leading, diverse and sustainable new growth
platform with more than $1 billion in annual sales.
The broad vision care market has strong underlying fundamentals driven by favorable
demographic trends, including a steadily growing elderly population and increased global
demand for advanced vision care products and procedures.
AMO’s business is composed of three major segments: it’s the global leader in LASIK
surgery devices; its largest business is cataract surgery devices, where it holds the number
two market position worldwide; and its third segment is eye care, including products such
as eye drops and contact lens solutions, where it’s number three in the market.
Now let’s talk about our success in operating responsibly and sustainably as a leading
citizen of our communities.
[SLIDE 29: Global Citizenship]
Good corporate citizenship is integral to our history, Promise and Values. We’re
committed to doing business in a responsible and sustainable way that brings wide-
ranging benefits to the communities where we live and work.
And we advance our citizenship through fundamental business practices. In 2008 we
further safeguarded our supply chain by enhancing security features to reduce the
possibility of product counterfeiting. Another major citizenship commitment for us
continues to be working green – making our operations as clean and environmentally
friendly as possible.
We’ve reduced our carbon footprint by upgrading our co-generation facilities and
installing solar panels at our plant in Campoverde, Italy; and by achieving carbon-neutral
status with our U.S. vehicle fleet.
In 2008, Abbott and the Abbott Fund donated several hundred million dollars worth of
cash and products to help those in need. We increased our employees’ community
participation through our annual Employee Giving Campaign, with both participation and
total contributions rising, despite the economy.
Among many other programs, in 2008 we expanded health access for women and
children in Afghanistan. And, we continued to improve the health status of children in
Cambodia through our nutrition education and training program.
[SLIDE 30: Recognition]
And our performance is being recognized. Abbott received top-tier recognition on
Fortune magazine’s list of “The World’s Most Admired Companies,” and on Barron’s
list of the “World’s Most Respected Companies,” moving higher in both rankings.
And, for the fourth consecutive year, Abbott was listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability
Index -- the leading benchmark in the citizenship arena. Only the top performing 10
percent of the world’s largest 2,500 companies are listed on the World Index.
So, despite the global economic situation, our company remains strong, focused, and
ready for the future and the changes it holds. We’re in a vital industry, and we compete
in many of its most attractive segments. We have a diverse mix of businesses. And we
have the financial strength and flexibility to take the actions our business needs and to
capture new opportunities in our marketplace. As always, we’re looking to the long term
and building our company for sustained success.
Importantly, we understand well the lessons of our long history, and we’re steering our
company through today’s challenging straits the way Abbott people have for generations:
by focusing on what counts the most – serving our patients and customers with superior
products that meet their needs.
This focus on the fundamental value – and Values of our business will see us through this
period, as it has so many times before. Our company has been a source of strength and
stability through times of change for well over a century – we’re keeping it strong and
reliable for our patients, our communities, our shareholders and all of the people, around
the world, who depend upon us to do so.