Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park, Ill., plans to spin off most of its hospital products business into a separate, $2.5 billion company in a tax-free distribution of stock expected to be completed in the first half of 2004. Abbott would retain its interests in operating room and proprietary hospital drugs, pain management products, vascular and spinal devices, and a portion of its international hospital products business. The new company's business lines would include infusion therapy and other medication delivery systems, critical-care products, generic drugs and intensive-care unit drugs. The company, which has yet to be named, would be headquartered in Lake Forest, Ill., and headed by Christopher Begley, president of Abbott's U.S. hospital division. The deal is subject to regulatory approval. In addition, the Internal Revenue Service must confirm its tax-free status. Abbott said the spin-off would enable it "to increase its focus and investment on higher-growth segments" of its product line. -- by Cinda Becker
Abbott to spin off hospital products business
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