Patterson's profit hit by weak dental supplies sales; stock plunges

Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:18am EST

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(Reuters) - Weaker-than-expected sales of dental supply products pushed Patterson Companies Inc's (PDCO.O) second-quarter profit below analysts' expectations and prompted the company to cut its 2013 forecast.

Shares of the company, which makes veterinary and dental products, fell as much as 11 percent to $32.07 early on Tuesday on the Nasdaq.

"Sales of basic dental equipment, including chairs, units and lighting, were below planned levels," Chief Executive Scott Anderson said in a statement.

For the quarter, the company reported a net income of $45.5 million or 44 cents per share. Analysts on average expected the company to earn 48 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue edged up 1 percent to $867.2 million, missing analysts' average estimate of $895.5 million by a wide margin.

Sales of dental consumable products grew 1 percent, compared with an average rise of 2.5 percent over the previous four quarters.

Patterson's sales growth lagged those of its peers.

Competitor Henry Schein Inc (HSIC.O), which has four times Patterson's revenue, recently reported a 1.2 percent growth in sales of dental products in its latest quarter.

Sirona Dental Systems Inc (SIRO.O), which has a market capitalization comparable to that of Patterson and sells dental products and software, posted a 13 percent increase in revenue for its latest quarter.

Patterson cut its profit estimate for the current fiscal by 10 cents to between $2.00 and $2.06 per share. Analysts were looking for $2.12 before special items, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Neither Hennry Schein nor Sirona have revised their forecast for the year. Henry Schein tightened its outlook range towards the higher end and forecast 2013 profit outlook above analysts' expectations. Sirona forecast 2013 profit comfortably in-line with consensus expectations.

(Reporting by Vidya P L Nathan; Editing by Sreejiraj Eluvangal)

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