Baxter (NYSE:BAX) beat Wall Street’s consensus forecast with both its fourth-quarter and full-year results, to tepid reaction from investors, who sent the healthcare giant’s share price up a hair today.
Deerfield, Ill.-based Baxter posted a return to black ink for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2018, logging profits of $348 million, or 65¢ per share, on sales growth of 2.4% to $2.84 billion compared with the same period in 2017. Adjusted to exclude one-time items, earnings per share were 78¢, a full nickel ahead of The Street, where analysts were looking for sales of $2.80 billion.
Full-year profits surged 126.5% to $1.62 billion, or $2.97 per share, on sales growth of 5.4% to $11.27 billion, compared with 2017. Adjusted 2018 EPS came in at $3.05, again 5¢ ahead of analysts, who were looking for a top line of $11.09 billion.
“Baxter continued building momentum in 2018, delivering solid top-line and strong bottom-line performance for the year,” chairman & CEO Joe Almeida said in prepared remarks. “Our focus on increased innovation, combined with our diverse portfolio, global footprint and unwavering financial discipline, helped us maintain our trajectory in a dynamic marketplace.
“Our ongoing business transformation will continue throughout 2019 as we prepare to launch new products, pursue high-value capital deployment opportunities and deliver on additional operational excellence initiatives. Our goal remains to drive top quartile performance for all stakeholders in line with our mission to save and sustain lives,” Almeida said.
Baxter said it expects to report adjusted 2019 EPS of $3.22 to $3.30 on constant-currency sales growth of 2% to 3%. First-quarter adjusted EPS are pegged at 66¢ to 68¢ per share, on constant-currency sales growth of 1%, the company said.
BAX shares were up 0.9% to $72.34 apiece today in mid-day trading.