DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) _ Wholesale drug distributor Cardinal Health Inc. on Thursday reported a 3 percent decrease in third-quarter earnings because of its acquisition of Indianapolis-based Bindley Western Industries.

The company said it made $192.9 million in the quarter ended March 31, or 42 cents a share. That compares with earnings of $198.4 million, or 44 cents a share.

Revenue totaled $12.6 billion, up 31 percent from $9.6 billion in the same quarter a year ago.

Without special charges of $61.8 million, primarily related to the Bindley acquisition, Cardinal Health made 56 cents a share, meeting the consensus estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call.

Cardinal Health had sales gains in its two largest business segments: pharmaceuticals and medical-surgical products.

Those segments are expected to fuel earnings growth of the company over the next few quarters, said Robert Walter, chairman and chief executive.

Cardinal Health, which employs about 42,000 people, completed its $2.2 billion stock-for-stock deal for Bindley in February.

The deal is expected to expand Cardinal Health's pharmaceutical distribution sales to the federal government and add a new service for the company _ nuclear medicine.

The acquisition makes Cardinal Health the nation's largest wholesale drug distributor.

Shares of Cardinal Health were down $1.58 to close at $65.17 on the New York Stock Exchange Thursday.

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On the Net:

http://www.cardinal.com

http://www.bindley.com