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Becton Dickinson Beats

The medical equipment and supply company also guides higher for 2005.
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Becton Dickinson

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reported a lower fourth-quarter profit because of an asset writedown, but the medical equipment and supply company offered full-year 2005 guidance above analysts' expectations.

The New Jersey-based company earned $67.4 million, or 26 cents a share, in its fourth quarter ended Sept. 30, vs. $161.4 million, or 61 cents a share, in the year ago period, excluding items. Based on continuing operations, the company earned 70 cents, compared with 62 cents a year ago. Becton Dickinson reported a loss of 44 cents a share from discontinued operations, reflecting the company's plan to sell its Clonetch unit.

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Analysts expected the company to earn 68 cents a share, excluding items, according to Thomson First Call.

Revenue rose 7.9% to $1.25 billion, partly because the weak dollar increased sales in Europe. Its diagnostic, medical and biosciences units all posted sales growth between 7% and 8%. For the full year, the company reported record revenue of $4.93 billion from continuing operations.

The company forecast EPS from continuing operations for fiscal 2005 will increase 10% to 12% from 2004's $2.56. The consensus estimate is $2.78 a share.

Shares closed at $51.70 Wednesday.