Becton Dickinson sees COVID-19 test sales of up to $1.5 billion after profit beat

(Reuters) - Medical device maker Becton Dickinson and Co BDX.N said on Thursday it expects as much as $1.5 billion in sales from its COVID-19 diagnostic test next year, after reporting a quarterly profit that beat Wall Street estimates.

Medical device makers have benefited from strong demand for their COVID-19 tests, which has softened the impact from patients deferring non-emergency procedures due to the pandemic.

“We are comfortable forecasting fiscal 2021 Veritor testing in a range of $1 billion to $1.5 billion, the weighting of these revenues being more in the first half of the fiscal year than the second,” Chief Executive Thomas Polen said in a post-earnings conference call.

The Veritor test, which can be performed in a portable device and does not require a lab, has been available in the United States since July through an emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

COVID-19 testing helped Becton earn more than $440 million in the fourth quarter and the company said the there is a higher likelihood for testing to continue into fiscal 2022.

The New Jersey-based company expects to produce 12 million tests per month by March 2021.

“With relatively low expectations heading into the quarter, we believe the stronger-than-expected results and good FY guidance should satisfy investors today,” said JP Morgan analyst Robbie Marcus.

The company forecast full-year revenue growth in the range of high-single to low-double digits and adjusted earnings per share of between $12.40 and $12.60 for 2021. Analysts had expected a profit of $12.53, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Fourth-quarter revenues grew 4.4% to $4.78 billion, above the average analyst estimate of $4.48 billion.

Excluding items, Becton earned $2.79 per share, beating estimates of $2.52 per share.

Reporting by Vishwadha Chander and Trisha Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel