Quest Diagnostics slashes full-year earnings forecast

Thu Oct 17, 2013 7:40am EDT

Oct 17 (Reuters) - Quest Diagnostics Inc slashed its full-year earnings forecast as the laboratory tests provider struggles with cuts in Medicare reimbursement.

The company, which estimated third-quarter profit below market expectations last week, reduced its earnings forecast for the year to $3.85-$3.95 per share from $4.35-$4.50.

Analysts were expecting earnings of $4.23 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Quest also said it expected full-year revenue about 3.5 percent below the previous year. It had earlier estimated revenue to fall 1-2 percent. The company reported net revenue of $7.38 billion in 2012.

"Healthcare utilization and reimbursement continue to be a headwind for our industry, and our results reflect that," Chief Executive Steve Rusckowski said in a statement.

The company said test volume, measured by the number of requisitions, rose 2 percent. Revenue per requisition fell 4.3 percent, mainly due to the reimbursement pressure.

Net income from continuing operations rose to $402.7 million, or $2.66 per share in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, from $158.6 million, or 98 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue from its diagnostics information services business, which includes clinical testing services, fell 2.4 percent.

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