Share story

Johnson & Johnson, despite a tough year of falling revenue, posted a 27.6 percent increase in fourth-quarter profit, as a big one-time gain offset restructuring and other charges taken by the healthcare bellwether.

The world’s biggest maker of health care products said net income was $3.2 billion, or $1.15 per share. That’s up from $2.53 billion, or 89 cents per share, a year earlier.

The New Brunswick, New Jersey-based company said adjusted net income was $4.04 billion, or $1.44 per share.

The results exceeded Wall Street expectations for adjusted earnings of $1.42 per share, based on estimates of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

The maker of baby shampoo, prescription medicines and medical devices said revenue fell 2.4 percent to $17.81 billion, weighed down by unfavorable currency rates that have been hurting U.S.-based companies for the past couple years. Analysts expected $17.94 billion.

Johnson & Johnson said it expects full-year adjusted earnings in the range of $6.43 to $6.58 per share, which excludes one-time items, with revenue in the range of $70.8 billion to $71.5 billion.

“Johnson & Johnson delivered strong underlying growth in 2015, driven by the performance of our pharmaceutical business and iconic consumer brands,” Alex Gorsky, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “As we enter 2016, our core business is very healthy, and the recent decisive actions we’ve taken in support of each of our businesses position us well to drive sustainable long-term growth, faster than the markets we compete in.”

Last week, Johnson & Johnson said it plans to restructure its underperforming medical devices business, including cutting about 3,000 jobs in the segment over the next two years.

Just a few years ago, medical device sales were surging and became J&J’s top-grossing business segment. More recently, J&J has struggled to revive sales of its medical devices, particularly brands such as DePuy orthopedic implants and Ethicon surgical equipment.

Sales in the U.S., J&J’s biggest market, jumped 8 percent to $9.29 billion. But sales to other countries dropped 11.7 percent, to $8.52 billion, hurt by the strong dollar, which reduced by 12.9 percent the value of those sales, which are paid for in local currencies.

Sales of prescription drugs rose 0.8 percent to $8.06 billion, while sales of consumer health products fell 7.9 percent to $3.32 billion. Sales of medical devices and diagnostic equipment fell 3.3 percent to $6.43 billion.

Johnson & Johnson shares have decreased 6 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has fallen 8 percent. The stock has dropped almost 6 percent in the last 12 months.


Follow Linda A. Johnson at