Baxter International disappointed investors with a drop in 2004 net income as it was forced to contend with restructuring charges and costs associated with the recent suspension of a trial of its influenza vaccine, PreFluCel, even though the results were largely in line with expectations and the company had previously warned that charges would take their toll [[12/01/05g]].

The company’s woes were further augmented with the revelation that sales would rise by just 2% to 4% during 2005 due to its decision to abandon certain low margin businesses. For the first quarter of 2005, Baxter expects organic sales growth of 3% to 4%.

Income for the year came in at $383 million – some way off the $866 million recorded in 2003. However, there were some bright points amongst the figures, including a 7% rise in worldwide sales for the year to $9.5 billion – albeit further boosted by positive currency effects. The bioscience business rose 7% to $3.5 billion, driven by strong growth of its recombinant Factor VIII haemophilia products, which climbed 18% to $1.3 billion. Medication delivery sales topped $4 billion in 2004 – up 6% on the back of strong growth in the drug delivery business unit. The renal unit delivered sales of $2 billion, which was 8% higher than the previous year.