Medical-device maker Becton, Dickinson and Co. more than tripled its earnings in its fiscal fourth quarter, making significant cuts to administrative expenses while seeing continued strong sales.
Franklin Lakes, N.J.-based BD reported quarterly earnings of $301 million for the period ended Sept. 30, compared to $91 million in earnings during the same period last year. A 36% decline in selling and administrative expenses helped offset higher costs for products and research and development in the quarter.
Strong sales in the medical and diagnostic segments boosted revenue by 4.8%. Fourth-quarter revenue was $2.2 billion, up from $2.1 billion in the same period a year ago.
Medical segment sales—which include needles, syringes and diabetes care—were up 6.5% for the quarter, at $1.2 billion, representing roughly half of the company's sales. Diagnostic segment performance improved 4.2%, while sales in the biosciences segment—targeted toward labs—remained relatively flat.
Sales of BD's diabetes-care products and pharmaceutical devices drove the strong medical segment performance, with diabetes sales up 8.2% and pharmaceutical sales up 7.8% from the fourth quarter last year.
Net income was $1.2 billion on $8.4 billion of revenue for the full fiscal year. BD reported diluted earnings per share of $5.99 for 2014. Looking forward, management expects a stronger fiscal 2015, with earnings per share projected at $6.76 to $6.83 per share.
The strong guidance may reflect optimism regarding BD's planned $12.2 billion acquisition of CareFusion, which sells products such as intravenous infusion systems and automated medication dispensing systems.
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