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Tickers in this Article: BDX
Becton Dickinson and Company (NYSE:BDX) announced its results for the most recent quarter on November 7, 2012. Becton, Dickinson & Company provides healthcare institutions, life science researchers, clinical laboratories, and individual consumers with laboratory equipment, medical supplies, devices, and diagnostic products.

Investors should care about a company's quarterly earnings because it shows the state of the business over the past 90 days and provides guidance for the following 90 days. SEE: How To Decode A Company's Earnings Reports

The Numbers: Becton Dickinson and beat expectations with its latest EPS and revenue figures. The company reported $1.43 per share versus the $1.40 per share estimate and revenues of $1.97 billion versus the $1.94 billion estimate. EPS rose 5.1% while revenue declined 1.1% from the same period last year. Becton Dickinson and's net income for the fourth quarter was $289 million. According to the reported number, this is down 3.6% from last year's figures.

Management Quote: "We are proud of our solid finish to 2012," said Vincent A. Forlenza, Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and President. "Despite a challenging macroeconomic environment, we delivered on our financial and operating goals while continuing our ongoing investments in geographic expansion, new product platforms and strategic acquisitions. We believe we are well positioned to succeed and will continue to focus on our strategy of investing and innovating for growth. We are confident in our outlook for fiscal year 2013 and remain committed to delivering value to our customers and shareholders."

A Look Back: Net income has dropped 11.2% year-over-year on average across the last five quarters. Performance was hurt by a 24.4% decline in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year from the year-earlier quarter.

Looking Ahead: Over the past 60 days, the outlook for the company's performance next quarter has become increasingly unfavorable. The average estimate for the first quarter of the next fiscal year is $1.28 per share, a drop from $1.29. Decreasing earnings estimates is generally a negative sign as it suggests analyst believe future earnings to be weaker than previously anticipated. The average estimate hasn't changed from $5.36 per share for the fiscal year.

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