Dade Behring

(DADE)

sank 5% after the healthcare diagnostics company missed fourth-quarter sales targets.

The Deerfield, Ill., company made $34 million, or 38 cents a share, up from the year-ago $24 million, or 26 cents a share. Revenue inched ahead to $421 million from $420 million a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for a 36-cent profit on sales of $441 million.

Worldwide core product revenue increased 3.6% and 6.6% for the quarter and full year, respectively, on a constant currency basis, driven primarily by strong reagent, service and operating lease revenue.

Domestic revenue rose 2.5% in the fourth quarter, hurt by the lower level of instruments placed under sales-type leases. International revenue rose 4.5% on a constant currency basis. Fourth quarter global instrument revenue, which was 11% of total sales, dropped by 2 percentage points from the same period last year. Sales-type lease revenue represented 4% of total sales in 2005.

Key revenue drivers for the quarter included strong global growth in Dimension test volume and continued strength in the company's cardiac, hemostasis and microbiology product lines. Core product reagent, service and operating lease revenue increased 6% for the quarter.

The company also set plans to buy back 5 million shares, adding to 2 million shares authorized under a previous plan.

On Wednesday, Dade Behring fell $1.85 to $37.18.

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