Dentsply sees Q1 profit drop, sales jump

In what it calls a "record" quarter, York, PA-based Dentsply International ($XRAY) reported that its first-quarter net sales increased 25.6% to $716.4 million from $570.5 million in the first quarter of 2011.

The company confirmed its earnings expectations for the year in the range of $2.22 to $2.30 per diluted share.

However, Dentsply's profits dropped to $53.3 million from $69.1 million a year earlier. Still, the company saw consolidated internal growth of 3.5% in the U.S., excluding orthodontics. As CEO Bret Wise noted in the earnings call, the dental market is experiencing growth, particularly in the U.S. with people who had been putting dental procedures off because of economic conditions now coming forward and having them done.

Last summer, the company emerged as the winner in the bid to buy AstraZeneca's ($AZN) Astra Tech unit for approximately $1.8 billion in cash. The buy helped sales but came with amortization and other costs, hurting profits, as The Associated Press notes.

When asked about the catheter business inherited from Astra Tech, Wise said the business is doing well with "impressive" growth in the U.S. However, Europe is seeing slower growth. That said, he is pleased, particularly with the R&D pipeline the segment provides. COO Chris Clark said the company can't use the Astra Tech name moving forward after a future point. But with the catheter business, the company foresees an opportunity to build a global brand.

Shares of Dentsply lost $1 to $40.06 in morning trading, the AP notes.

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