April 28, 2011 / 3:44 PM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 1-Mead Johnson hits new high after earnings beat

* EPS $0.76 vs Wall St $0.72 view

* Sales up 18 percent to $899.8 million

* Raises sales forecast

* Shares up 3.6 percent

CHICAGO, April 28 (Reuters) - Baby formula maker Mead Johnson Nutrition Co MJN.N posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit and raised its full-year outlook on strong sales in emerging markets, sending its shares to an all-time high.

The maker of Enfamil formula has seen demand grow in Asia and Latin America, as the United States has had a decline in the birth rate. The company's Asia/Latin America segment posted a 27 percent sales increase in the quarter and now accounts for 64 percent of the company's sales.

Mead Johnson said on Thursday profit in the quarter first quarter rose to $146.1 million, or 71 cents a share, from $125.6 million, or 61 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, earnings were 76 cents a share, compared with the average Wall Street estimate of 72 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales rose 18 percent to $899.8 million, beating the average analyst estimate of $848 million.

The company also said it now expects full-year earnings of $2.62 to $2.70 a share, excluding one-time items, up from its previous forecast of $2.55 to $2.65. analysts on average forecast $2.66 a share.

Mead Johnson shares were up $2.23 at $64.22 on Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Brad Dorfman, editing by Dave Zimmerman)

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