UPDATE 1-Drug wholesaler McKesson quarterly profit tops forecasts

Mon May 12, 2014 5:22pm EDT

(Adds full-year outlook)

May 12 (Reuters) - U.S. drug wholesaler McKesson Corp on Monday said profit rose in the latest quarter, exceeding analyst expectations, thanks to strength in its distribution and technology solutions units.

For the fiscal fourth quarter ended March 31, the company posted net income of $371 million, up from $259 million in the year-earlier period. On a per share basis, net income from continuing operations rose to $1.56 from $1.11.

Excluding special items, earnings from continuing operations were $2.55 a share.

On that basis, analysts on average expected earnings of $2.40 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 25 percent to $38.14 billion, which was above Wall Street expectations of $35.86 billion.

San Francisco-based McKesson also gave a forecast for fiscal 2015 earnings, excluding special items, of $10.40 to $10.80 a share. It said its acquisition of German drug distributor Celesio AG will significantly increase revenue growth in its distribution business.

McKesson also forecast softer price increases for generic drugs that are outside of an exclusivity period. It predicted price growth for those drugs in the high single digits in the year ahead, down from last year's levels. (Reporting by Susan Kelly in Chicago; Editing by David Gregorio and Lisa Shumaker)

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