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Quest Diagnostics' Q4 Revenues up 7 Percent

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Quest Diagnostics today posted a 7 percent rise in fourth quarter revenues, topping analysts' estimates and helping drive an increase in its net income.

Quest's revenues from continuing operations were $1.88 billion for the three-month period ended Dec. 31, compared with year-ago revenues of $1.76 billion. Analysts had expected revenues of $1.85 billion.

The company said revenues from diagnostic information services climbed 7 percent over last year, while test volume around 9 percent. Revenue per requisition was nearly 2 percent lower than a year ago.

Quest's net earnings in the quarter came in at $190 million, or $1.29 a share, compared with $143 million, or $.97 a share, the year before. Earnings per share on an adjusted basis were $1.08, beating the consensus analysts' estimate of $1.05 a share.

For the full-year 2014, Quest's revenues from continuing operations increased four percent to $7.44 billion from $7.15 billion and beat the consensus Wall Street estimate of $7.40 billion.

Its net income for the year fell to $556 million, or $3.81 a share, from $849 million, of $5.54 a share, in 2013. Last year's figures include a one-time gain of about $300 million on the firm's sale of its royalty rights to the cancer drug ibrutinib.

Quest ended 2014 with cash and cash equivalents totaling $192 million.

Looking ahead, Quest said it expects its 2015 revenues from continuing operations to rise between two and three percent over 2014, with adjusted earnings per share between $4.70 and $4.85.

"The 2015 outlook we are providing today is based on our expectations for strengthening operational performance and an improving business environment," Quest President and CEO Steve Rusckowski said in a statement. "Further, based on our ability to continue to generate strong cash flow, today we are announcing the fourth increase in our dividend since 2011."

Quest said that its board has authorized a 15 percent increase in the firm's quarterly dividend to $.38 a share from $.33 a share.