Becton, Dickinson trims expectations after Q3 loss

Becton, Dickinson ($BDX) scaled back its full-year profit forecast after posting a 4.7% drop in net income for the third fiscal quarter, coming in below analysts' estimates.

BD reported quarterly revenues of almost $2 billion, a 1.5% increase over the previous year, but that growth was more than negated by rising costs and shrinking income on interest. BD had projected to earn up to $5.70 per share in 2012, but trimmed its high-end projection to $5.38.

The company blames unfavorable currency translation for the decline, and, following the agreement with Corning ($GLW) to sell its Discovery Labware unit in April, BD has had to classify that business' revenues as discontinued operations.

Despite the drop in net income, BD posted some positive results from its business units. BD Medical, the company's largest segment, reported sales growth of 2.4% on the quarter, and the firm's diagnostics arm posted a 1.7% increase. BD's bioscience unit, however, took a 2.7% sales loss, fueled mostly by decreasing U.S. demand.

The Discovery Labware deal, expected to close at the end of the fiscal year, will bring BD $730 million, but strip the firm of one of its cash cows. Analysts say, however, the deal will allow BD to focus its efforts on areas with higher growth potential. Take diagnostics, for instance; the company's Dx business has consistently posted sales growth each quarter.

- read BD's release
- get more from The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)

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