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LabCorp Posts 3 Percent Q4 Revenue Growth; $1B Share Repurchase Authorized

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Laboratory Corporation of America today reported that its fourth-quarter revenues increased 3 percent, beating analyst expectations, as disruptions due to inclement weather hit the firm's bottom line.

The Burlington, NC-based clinical lab firm brought in total revenues of $1.41 billion for the three months ended Dec. 31, exceeding Wall Street's consensus expectation of $1.39 billion and above Q4 2011 revenues of $1.37 billion.

Its profit for the quarter was $120.2 million, or $1.26 per share, compared to net income of $135.4 million, or $1.34 per share, for the fourth quarter of 2011. On an adjusted basis, the firm's EPS was $1.54, below the consensus Wall Street estimate of $1.62. LabCorp noted that the impact of inclement weather cut its adjusted EPS by $.09.

The firm's bottom line was reduced partially due to restructuring and other special charges that totaled $20.7 million versus $10.6 million for such charges in Q4 2011. Its SG&A expenses also climbed 3 percent to $278.8 million from $270.4 million.

For full-year 2012, LabCorp reported revenues of $5.67 billion, up 2 percent from $5.54 in 2011 and edging out analysts' consensus expectations of $5.66 billion.

The firm's net income for the year was $583.1 million, or $5.99 per share, compared to $519.7 million, or $5.11 per share, for 2011. On an adjusted basis, its FY 2012 EPS was $6.82, falling short of the average estimate of $6.89.

LabCorp's SG&A expenses for the year were trimmed 4 percent to $1.11 billion from $1.16 billion. Its restructuring and other special charges dropped sharply to $25.3 million from $80.9 million.

"We had a good year, despite operating through a challenging environment," LabCorp Chairman and CEO David King said in a statement.

The company also said that its board of directors has authorized a new $1 billion share repurchase program. During the fourth quarter, LabCorp repurchased $136.0 million of stock, representing 1.6 million shares, and noted that as of the end of 2012 it had $68.0 million of repurchase authorization remaining under its previously approved share repurchase plan.

For full-year 2013, LabCorp expects revenue growth of between 2 percent and 3 percent. It anticipates adjusted EPS excluding amortization of $6.85 to $7.15, which includes a negative impact of approximately $0.35 due to Medicare payment reductions, but excludes the impact of any share repurchase activity after Dec. 31, 2012.

The EPS guidance for 2013 is below the consensus estimate of $7.27

In early Friday trade on the New York Stock Exchange shares of LabCorp were down 2 percent at $89.73.