As I pointed out yesterday, diversification is one of Johnson & Johnson's (NYSE: JNJ ) strengths. According to its latest earnings report, successes in two of the health-care giant's divisions -- consumer goods and medical devices -- compensated for flat drug sales in the recently concluded third quarter.
Consumer sales, including over-the-counter drugs and baby-care products -- you know, stuff people can't live without even in hard economic times -- jumped 13% year over year. Zyrtec, which J&J purchased from Pfizer (NYSE: PFE ) after its patent ran out, was one of the big over-the-counter boosters for the division.
Sales of J&J's Cypher drug-eluting stent plunged by 23%, and estimates of its market share got slashed in half, after rivals from Abbott Labs (NYSE: ABT ) and Medtronic (NYSE: MDT ) entered the U.S. market. Nonetheless, Johnson & Johnson's medical devices saw an almost 9% year-over-year increase in sales overall.
On the drug side, things looked far less rosy. Global pharmaceutical sales were flat, with the U.S. figure down 6%. Sales of antipsychotic Risperdal plunged after generic competition from Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: TEVA ) arrived this quarter. Duragesic, another product that lost U.S. patent protection, saw sales fall 16%. Anemia treatment Procrit also kept dropping, but its less-than-4% decline compared to the previous quarter suggests that it may be reaching the bottom. That bodes well for Johnson & Johnson and Amgen (Nasdaq: AMGN ) , the other major anti-anemia drugmaker.
Pharmaceutical sales weren't a complete downer. Anti-inflammatory Remicade saw sales jump 19%, including a 16% boost internationally thanks to marketing partner Schering-Plough (NYSE: SGP ) . Migraine treatment Topamax also saw a nice 19% jump in sales, although it will lose marketing exclusivity in March 2009. In short, with so many drugs already off-patent or swiftly headed that way, don't expect a turnaround in pharmaceutical sales anytime soon.
Overall revenue was up 6.4%, split almost equally between organic growth and differences in currency exchange rates. Most of the growth came from outside the U.S., where sales were up 13% -- again, split almost evenly between currency impact and actual growth.
The bottom line looked even better. J&J's $1.17 per share in earnings this quarter was 10% higher year over year, after adjusting for last-year's restructuring charge. That figure got a slight boost from a lower overall share count; Johnson & Johnson has repurchased $7.4 billion worth of shares since August of last year.
However much the world may panic, Johnson & Johnson's diversity, combined with its non-discretionary products, make it a real long-term winner.