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Abbott aims to recapture baby formula market share

Stock Markets Jul 20, 2022 12:01PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Abbott Laboratories logo is displayed on a screen at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., October 18, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

By Leroy Leo and Amruta Khandekar

(Reuters) -Abbott Laboratories said on Wednesday it was set to recapture some of the market share in the baby formula business as the company restarts manufacturing at its troubled Michigan facility in the United States.

Abbott resumed partial production of certain specialty and metabolic formulas earlier this month at the Sturgis facility and has also imported products from its international plants.

The plant shutdown earlier this year and the recall of Abbott infant formula products deepened a supply shortage and sent parents in the United States scrambling.

"We've recovered already a good portion of the share that we lost," Abbott Chief Executive Robert Ford said on a conference call on Wednesday. "We continue to see that moving forward positively."

Before the recall, Abbott controlled 40% of the infant formula market, including Similac, but the market share of other companies such as Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC has grown since then.

Abbott said it plans to soon restart production of Similac, its milk-based infant formula. It has said it expects to begin releasing EleCare formula in the coming weeks.

Atlantic Equities analyst James Mainwaring expects the market share recovery for Abbott to be gradual.

The shortage, however, is yet to be alleviated, with in-stock nationwide availability of powder baby formula dipping to 69.6% for the week of July 3, from 70.7% in the week ended June 26, according to data service IRI.

Abbott's shares were down 2% after the company raised its annual forecast that some analysts called conservative.

The forecast "creates more questions than answers" as the small raise implies Abbott is cautious on its outlook for the second half, said Mainwaring.

Abbott said it now expects at least $4.90 per share in adjusted earnings in 2022, higher than its previous forecast of at least $4.70.

Abbott aims to recapture baby formula market share
 

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