Baxter Earnings Continue To Grow
DEERFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ Medical products giant Baxter International Inc. reported a 10 percent increase in first-quarter earnings, largely on continued strong sales of products to treat kidney and heart disease.
Earnings totaled $164 million, or 58 cents per diluted share, up from $149 million, or 54 cents a share, in the first quarter last year. That’s just above analysts’ expectation of 57 cents a share, according to a survey by First Call Corp.
The results exclude a $352 million charge in the 1997 quarter related to acquisitions. Including that charge, Baxter lost $203 million, or 74 cents per diluted share, in the first quarter of last year.
Sales for the quarter rose 2 percent to $1.47 billion from $1.44 billion, largely on strong performance by dialysis products used to treat kidney disease and tissue valves used in heart-valve therapy. Adjusting for differences in currency exchange rates, sales were up 7 percent.
Domestic sales grew 4 percent to $704 million. International sales of $764 million were flat including the impact of a stronger U.S. dollar and up 10 percent adjusting for it. Sales growth was particularly strong in Latin America, up more than 20 percent over the year-ago quarter.
During the quarter, Baxter: announced a deal to acquire Somatogen, a biopharmaceutical company developing recombinant hemoglobin technology; completed the acquisition of the dialysis, intravenous therapy, irrigation solutions and nutrition businesses of Bieffe Medital of Italy; and signed a deal with the Lerner Research Institute of Cleveland to develop new technologies and devices for conventional and minimally invasive heart surgery.
Just last week, Baxter voluntarily recalled some shipments of blood plasma to the United States and Hong Kong because it could be tainted with a fatal ailment linked to mad cow disease. The recall affected less than 1 percent of Baxter’s annual production of plasma, a spokeswoman said.