UPDATE 1-Danaher forecasts 1st-qtr profit below estimates

Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:36am EST

* Expects first-quarter earnings $0.72-$0.77/share vs est $0.78

* Fourth-quarter earnings $0.89/share vs $0.79 last year

* Revenue rises 6 pct to $4.98 bln

Jan 29 (Reuters) - Industrial and healthcare conglomerate Danaher Corp's quarterly profit rose 12 percent, but the company forecast first-quarter earnings below analysts' estimates.

Danaher said it expects to earn between 72 and 77 cents per share in the current quarter.

Analysts on average were expecting 78 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Danaher, which supplies equipment and software to hospitals and medical labs, has been hurt by falling demand in a slow U.S. economy.

While sales in emerging markets, including China, have held up, the company has faced pressure from dipping sales in the United States.

For the fourth quarter, net income from continuing operations rose to $630.4 million, or 89 cents per share, from $563.5 million, or 79 cents per share, a year earlier.

Fourth quarter results include a benefit of 2 cents per share from a currency swap agreement, Danaher said.

Excluding one-time items, analysts on average expected earnings of 86 cents per share on revenue of $4.81 billion.

Revenue rose 6 percent to $4.98 billion.

Danaher spent about $120 million on restructuring in 2012 as it looks to cut costs. Selling and general costs rose 9 percent in the fourth quarter to $1.41 billion.

Danaher also said it expects 2013 earnings of between $3.32 and $3.47 per share excluding items. It had earlier forecast earnings of $3.40 to $3.55 per share, including one-time items.

Danaher's shares have gained about 17 percent in the last year. They closed at $60.71 on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.

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