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Alere's CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Additionally, please note that during this call, we may discuss non-GAAP financial measures. For each non-GAAP financial measure discussed, a presentation of the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure and a reconciliation of the differences between the non-GAAP financial measure discussed and the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure is available on the company's website at alere.com.

And with that, let me turn the call over to Alere Chairman and CEO, Ron Zwanziger. Ron?

Ron Zwanziger

Thanks, Doug, and good morning, everyone. Our fourth quarter results were impacted by significant headwinds, which emerged in Europe and went through the quarter and not only affected our financial results but our comfort in setting and operating to our 2012 earnings outlook. On the positive side, sales growth in Asia Pacific region was strong, global new product sales showed encouraging acceleration, and our Health Management unit continued to stabilize. Finally, in the fourth quarter, we reentered the diabetes marketplace and began to address the primary missing element in our portfolio approach towards the most expensive chronic diseases. I'll expand briefly now on some of these elements.

While Europe remained relatively strong during the first 10 months of the year, our November, December were particularly weak. While we had been highlighting the risk in Europe on earnings call during the past year, the abruptness which the situation deteriorate was still frankly surprising to us. While we're pleased that sales in Europe have been steady so far in the first quarter, continued uncertainty over the macroeconomic environment combined with how quickly ordering patterns can change has us feeling uncomfortable about predicting the European outlook for 2012. This concern compounded by an ease over the potential for further declines in U.S. states spending on health improvements programs led us in an Investor Conference in January to provide only minimal guidance around 2012 earnings. At that conference, we said that we expect to exceed $250 million in adjusted cash basis EPS in 2012, but the extent to which we exceed that minimum target cannot be predicted at this time, which continues to be our view today.

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