Stanley M. Bergman
Good morning and thank you, Susan. And thank you, everyone for joining us. Before I begin to discuss the quarter, let me just note that last night the Fortune rankings, Fortune 500 rankings were issued, and Henry Schein placed 303 in the 2012 Fortune 500 Ranking of America's Largest Corporations. We are very pleased by this recognition of our ability to record steady growth even during challenging economic times. Our steady growth in -- position on the ranking is reflective of the wonderful work that our team of over 15,000 Team Schein Members around the world has undertaken in the past 16 years as a public company. Today, we are also pleased to be reporting overall sales growth of 7.8%. This is the first quarter that we are presenting net sales results for our global customer-centric business units and each of our global Dental, Animal Health, Medical and Technology and Value-Added Services units reported growth in local currency in mid single digits or better. So I think with the new way in which we're reporting our sales with these new global verticals, it'll give our shareholders a far better ability to understand the performance of the company and align the sales reporting and the profitability reporting of the company with our strategic plan.
Based on the strength of our first quarter financial results and our continued confidence in our outlook for the rest of the year, we are increasing EPS guidance -- or our EPS guidance range for 2012. Reflecting this outlook, our Board of Directors recently voted to authorize the repurchase of up to additional $200 million shares of Henry Schein common stock. Earlier this year, as discussed during our last quarterly call, we are continuing to optimize our cost structure and improve profitability. We look forward to the future with more efficient organization; the organization will be far more focused and efficient at using our resources and in that context, even have a sharper global view of our customers and their evolving needs.
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