Becton Dickinson says early flu helped 1Q profit

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Associated Press

Posted on February 5, 2013 at 1:00 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 5 at 3:01 PM

FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J. (AP) — Medical equipment supplier Becton, Dickinson and Co. reported Tuesday that its first-quarter earnings surged, due in part to an early flu season and international growth.

Its shares rose almost 3 percent in midday trading, briefly hitting its highest level in more than four years.

The company's net income rose to $625 million, or $3.13 per share in the fiscal quarter, up from $263 million, or $1.21 per share, in the prior-year period. Its earnings from continuing operations came to $1.35 per share.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected earnings of $1.23 per share and typically exclude one-time items.

Revenue rose 3.7 percent to $1.9 billion from $1.83 billion a year ago.

The company attributed the growth, in part, to the early flu season which hit about a month earlier this year and was widespread in 47 states. Becton Dickinson sells test kits used to detect the flu.

Revenue from the company's medical equipment unit rose 3.5 percent to $983 million. Sales of diagnostics grew 5 percent to $652 million. Analysts expected revenue of $1.86 billion.

For full-year fiscal 2013 the company expects earnings of between $5.69 and $5.72 per share. Analysts expect $5.65 per share.

The company said it plans to purchase about $500 million of its common stock in the coming fiscal year.

Shares of Becton, Dickinson rose $2.47, or 2.9 percent, to $87.63 in midday trading after rising as high as $87.90 earlier in the session. That is its highest level since August 2008, according to FactSet.

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