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Abbott Annual Meeting Highlights Outstanding 2008 Results, Continued Strong Outlook

ABBOTT PARK, Ill., April 24 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Abbott's diversified portfolio of businesses generated industry-leading results across the company in 2008 and remain strong and focused for the future, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Miles D. White told shareholders today at the company's annual meeting.

"Abbott had a truly outstanding year in 2008 across all of our major businesses - medical devices, nutritional products, diagnostics and pharmaceuticals," said Mr. White. "We delivered on our strategic, operational and financial goals, strengthened our leadership positions across our range of global businesses, and we executed a record nine major new product launches."

Value of Diversity

Balanced growth across the company's major businesses drove another year of double-digit ongoing earnings growth in 2008. Abbott's business portfolio, enhanced by the February 2009 acquisition of Advanced Medical Optics, a global leader in vision care and surgery, generates sustainable growth, particularly in the current economic environment.

Over the last one, three and five years, Abbott's total return, which includes stock price performance and dividends, has significantly outperformed the S&P 500 Index and the majority of its health care peers. Abbott's top-tier total return is due, in part, to the company's 36th consecutive annual increase in its cash dividend, amid widespread dividend reductions across industries. This year, Abbott increased its dividend by 11 percent.

"Our company remains strong, focused, and ready for the future," said Mr. White. "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. We have the financial strength and flexibility to take the actions our business needs and to capture new opportunities in our marketplace, building our company for long-term, sustained success."

New Product Launches

In 2008, Abbott launched a significant number of new products that will enhance growth in 2009 and beyond, including:

  • Two new indications for HUMIRA(R) (adalimumab) - psoriasis and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Abbott also received approval in Japan for HUMIRA to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
  • XIENCE V(TM) drug-eluting stent in the U.S.
  • In Abbott's cholesterol management franchise, the U.S. approval of TRILIPIX(TM) (fenofibric acid), the first fibrate to be approved for use in combination with a statin, and SIMCOR(R), a fixed-dose combination of Niaspan(R) (Abbott's proprietary niacin extended-release) and simvastatin.
  • Similac Advance EarlyShield(TM), an infant formula with a blend of prebiotics, nucleotides and antioxidants to support a baby's natural immune system. It uses a new SimplePac(TM) package that has a one-hand grip, hinged lid and scoop in the lid.
  • FreeStyle Freedom(R) Lite Blood Glucose Meter.
  • ARCHITECT(R) i1000SR(R) immunochemistry analyzer in the U.S. for small-volume labs.

Investing For The Future

Abbott is dedicated to developing innovative therapies across its range of medical products, nutritional and pharmaceutical businesses. Cancer, heart disease, autoimmune disorders, hepatitis and Alzheimer's disease are key areas of Abbott research and development. Building on Abbott's expertise in core therapeutic areas and partnering in new fields, Abbott-led research represents novel science that, if successful, would result in significant advances in patient treatment.

Global Citizenship

In 2008, Abbott and the Abbott Fund increased its annual contribution in grants, patient assistance programs, humanitarian support, product donations and community programs, reaching millions of people around the world. For more information, please see Abbott's 2008 Global Citizenship Report at

Shareholder Proposals

During the meeting, the majority of shareholders rejected proposals calling for a non-binding vote on executive compensation as well as proposals on animal testing and health care principles. Shareholders approved a new employee incentive stock program and a stock purchase plan for employees outside the U.S. In addition, the shareholders ratified the selection of Deloitte & Touche LLP as auditors of the corporation for 2009.

Additionally, Abbott's 13 incumbent directors were elected to the board of directors:

  • Robert J. Alpern, M.D., Ensign professor of medicine, professor of internal medicine, and dean of Yale School of Medicine.
  • Roxanne S. Austin, president, Austin Investment Advisors.
  • William M. Daley, head of the office of corporate social responsibility and chairman of the midwest, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  • W. James Farrell, retired chairman and chief executive officer, Illinois Tool Works Inc.
  • H. Laurance Fuller, retired co-chairman of the board, BP Amoco, p.l.c.
  • William A. Osborn, chairman and former chief executive officer, Northern Trust Corporation and The Northern Trust Company.
  • The Rt. Hon. Lord Owen CH FRCP, chairman of Europe Steel, Ltd.
  • W. Ann Reynolds, Ph.D., former president, The University of Alabama at Birmingham.
  • Roy S. Roberts, managing director, Reliant Equity Investors.
  • Samuel C. Scott III, chairman, president and chief executive officer, Corn Products International, Inc.
  • William D. Smithburg, retired chairman, president and chief executive officer, The Quaker Oats Company.
  • Glenn F. Tilton, chairman, president and chief executive officer, UAL Corporation and United Air Lines, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of UAL Corporation.
  • Miles D. White, chairman of the board and chief executive officer, Abbott.

About Abbott

Abbott is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals and medical products, including nutritionals, devices and diagnostics. The company employs more than 72,000 people and markets its products in more than 130 countries.

Abbott's news releases and other information are available on the company's Web site at

SOURCE Abbott Laboratories
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