Baxter’s shares were on the rise yesterday after the group posted a strong set of results for the fourth quarter, including a double-digit rise in profit.

Earnings jumped 11% to $478 million, or $0.74 a share, for the period, as solid revenue growth helped the group absorb an after-tax charge of $10 million for in-process R&D associated with its recently announced alliances with Nektar Therapeutics and Nycomed.

Sales were given a strong helping hand by favourable currency effects, climbing 9% to $3 billion, on strong performances by all of the group’s three business units: BioScience (up 16% to $1.2 billion); Medication Delivery (+11% at $1.2 billion); and Renal (+12% to $601 million). Organically, revenues grew 3%, falling in line with Baxter’s expectations of 2%-3%.

The company also booked record sales and earnings for the full year, with net income, excluding $119-million worth of special items, growing 25% to $1.8 billion, or $2.79 a share, beating the company’s top-end forecast of $2.77 per share. Revenues climbed 9%, to $11.3 billion, including an exchange rate benefit of 5%.

Strong position for the future
Commenting on the performance during the period, chairman and chief executive Robert Parkinson said 2007 was a very successful year the company. “We met or exceeded expectations on all key financial metrics throughout the year [and] are also particularly pleased with the improved profile of our earnings, the strength of our overall financial position, and most importantly, the progress we have made in accelerating innovation,” he added.

Looking forward, Baxter expects to achieve sales growth, excluding foreign exchange effects, of 5% to 6% for 2008, with earnings, excluding special items, of $3.10-$3.18 per diluted share.