(Reuters) - Drug wholesaler AmerisourceBergen Corp (ABC.N) reported higher-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter earnings on Tuesday, driven by strong sales in its generic and specialty drug businesses.
Net earnings rose 4.3 percent to $147.3 million, or 54 cents a share, compared with the year-ago quarter. Revenue rose 3.5 percent to $20.4 billion.
Excluding one-time items, the company earned 61 cents a share. Analysts on average had expected earnings of 56 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
“Adjusting for a more normalized tax rate, AmerisourceBergen’s adjusted EPS came in at 59 cents, still ahead of our and consensus estimates by 3 cents,” said A.J. Rice, an analyst at Susquehanna Financial Group, in a research note.
AmerisourceBergen expects earnings per share for fiscal 2012 to be in the range of $2.74 to $2.84 a share.
“Previously, AmerisourceBergen had suggested a $2.70 to $2.82 range,” said Tom Gallucci, an analyst at Lazard Capital Markets. “The increase is due primarily to buyback activity in recent months.”
Analysts expect full-year earnings of $2.81 a share.
The Valley Forge, Pennsylvania-based company said it anticipates flat to modest revenue growth in fiscal 2012.
“Outstanding performance in the two key growth drivers for our business - generic pharmaceuticals and specialty distribution and services, continues to drive gross margin expansion,” said Steven Collis, the company’s chief executive officer, in a statement.
In September, the company agreed to buy TheraCom LLC, a unit of CVS Caremark Corp (CVS.N) for $250 million to expand its consulting services.
The company’s shares fell 1.7 percent to $40.11 a share on the New York Stock Exchange in early trading, slightly less than a decline of 2.2 percent in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. .DJI
Reporting by Toni Clarke in Boston; Editing by Maureen Bavdek, Dave Zimmerman