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Abbott Labs Cuts 700 Jobs Primarily In Manufacturing

By Peter Loftus Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Health-products maker Abbott Laboratories (ABT) has laid off about 700 workers, primarily in manufacturing operations, and plans to eliminate several hundred additional positions over the course of the year. The company attributed some of the layoffs to the impending mid-2012 expiration of Abbott's contract to supply the artery-opening stent Promus to Boston Scientific Corp. (BSX). Boston Scientific is shifting to a new version of Promus that it will manufacture internally. Orders for Promus have slowed ahead of the contract expiration, said Abbott spokesman Scott Stoffel. In addition, the layoffs affect some workers in Abbott's diagnostics and pharmaceutical manufacturing operations, Stoffel said. Abbott recorded unspecified costs associated with the work-force reduction in its fourth-quarter earnings report released earlier Wednesday. The costs were among restructuring, integration and other items that reduced Abbott's fourth-quarter earnings by about $276 million, or 18 cents a share. Abbott notified the affected workers Wednesday, including those at a stent manufacturing plant in Temecula, Calif. Abbott has about 91,000 employees worldwide. -Peter Loftus, Dow Jones Newswires; +1-215-982-5581;

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