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Baxter Int'l Q1 Profit Tops View; Backs 2012 Outlook

Healthcare company Baxter International, Inc. (BAX) reported Thursday a profit for the first quarter that increased 3 percent from last year, helped by sales growth. Adjusted earnings per share and quarterly revenues topped analysts' expectations.

Further, the company issued earnings and revenue growth forecast for the second quarter, in line with Street view, and backed its guidance for the full-year 2012.

"Baxter has entered 2012 with strong momentum and confidence in our continued success. Our sustained focus on innovation and growth opportunities enables us to respond effectively to an evolving macroeconomic environment, while strengthening our market leadership and expanding access to care, achieving the highest standards of quality and safety, and creating enhanced value for Baxter, our shareholders, and patients worldwide," Chairman and CEO Robert Parkinson, Jr. said in a statement.

The Deerfield, Illinois-based drug maker posted net income of $588 million or $1.04 per share for the first quarter, higher than $570 million or $0.98 per share in the prior-year quarter.

Excluding items, adjusted net income for the quarter was $569 million or $1.01 per share, compared to $570 million or $0.98 per share in the year-ago quarter.

On average, 16 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report earnings of $1.00 per share for the first quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Worldwide sales for the quarter increased 3 percent to $3.39 billion from $3.28 billion in the same quarter last year, and surpassed fourteen Wall Street analysts' consensus revenue estimate of $3.30 billion. Excluding the impact of foreign exchange, sales grew 4 percent.

Sales within the U.S. increased 3 percent to $1.47 billion and international sales amounted to $1.92 billion, a growth of 3 percent or 5 percent in constant currency, over the same period last year.

Baxter's bioScience business generated sales of $1.46 billion, up 4 percent or 5 percent in constant currency, over last year, and medical products sales were up 3 percent to $1.93 billion.

Gross profit for the quarter was $1.71 billion, up 2 percent from $1.68 billion in the year-ago quarter, while gross margin percentage edged down 40 basis points to 50.6 percent from last year.

Looking ahead to the second quarter, Baxter expects adjusted earnings in a range of $1.10 to $1.12 per share on a projected quarterly sales growth of 3 to 4 percent from last year. Analysts expect the company to report earnings of $1.12 per share on quarterly revenues of $3.55 billion.

For fiscal 2012, the company continues to anticipate adjusted earnings in a range of $4.49 to $4.57 per share on expected annual sales growth of 4 to 5 percent from last year. Street is currently looking for full-year 2012 earnings of $4.53 per share on annual revenues of $14.20 billion.

In Thursday's regular trading session, BAX is currently trading at $54.40, up $0.01 or 0.02% on a volume of 0.38 million shares.

by RTT Staff Writer

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