With lower litigation costs, J&J says fourth quarter net earnings rose more than 1000 percent

Helped by dramatically lower litigation costs, health-care giant Johnson & Johnson said Tuesday that its net earnings rose to $2.57 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to $218 million in the same period in 2011.

The earnings were non-GAAP figures.

The 2011 fourth-quarter figures included $2.2 billion in litigation losses, according to the company financial statement.

J&J's headquarters is in New Brunswick and is the parent company of McNeil Consumer Healthcare, which is based in for Fort Washington, Montgomery County.

In June, J&J completed the largest acquisition in its history, when it bought medical device manufacturer Synthes for $19.7 billion. Though officially headquartered in Switzerland, Synthes was largely run from its Chester County headquarters.

The company said in a statement that earnings guidance for full-year 2013 of $5.35 to $5.45 per share, which excludes the impact of special items.

"Johnson & Johnson delivered solid results in 2012 reflecting continued sales momentum in many parts of our business driven by our focus on delivering meaningful innovation in health care to patients and customers. Our results included strong growth of key products, successful new product launches, and the addition of Synthes to our family of companies," Alex Gorsky, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

"In addition, we continued to make important investments building strategic partnerships and in advancing our pipeline, positioning us well for delivering sustainable growth as we enter 2013. I would also like to thank our talented colleagues at Johnson & Johnson for their extraordinary achievements in helping advance health and well-being for patients and customers around the world."

A link to the company's announcement is here.