UPDATE 2-Patterson Q3 revenue tops Street view, profit in line

jueves 21 de febrero de 2008 20:10 CET

(Adds analysts comments, updates share movement)

By Shalini Sen

BANGALORE Feb 21 (Reuters) - Patterson Cos Inc (PDCO.O: Cotización) reported a 10 percent rise in quarterly revenue that topped Wall Street estimates, driven by a strong performance at its dental unit, and forecast a fourth-quarter profit that could meet or exceed market expectations.

Third-quarter profit, however, came in line with analysts' forecasts as a 9 percent rise in operating expenses largely offset the increase in revenue.

"Operating expenses (were) up in the quarter given higher commissions associated with above-expected dental equipment sales," Robert W. Baird analyst Jeff Johnson said in an e-mail.

He added that continued investments in new branch offices for the Patterson Medical segment, its rehabilitation supply and equipment unit, also drove expenses higher. The company opened three new Patterson Medical branches in the quarter.

Total sales rose 10 percent to $776.9 million, beating analysts' average estimate of $758.6 million.

Sales at Patterson Dental, its largest business, rose 9 percent to $584.9 million, helped by a strong rebound in equipment sales.

Patterson, which also caters to the veterinarian supplies market, earned $60.4 million, or 45 cents a share, compared with $58.6 million, or 43 cents a share, in the year-ago period.   Continuación...