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C.R. Bard 1Q Profit Rises 8.8% On Vascular Sales

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Medical-device maker C.R. Bard Inc.'s (BCR) first-quarter profit rose a better-than-expected 8.8% on revenue growth in its main vascular business. A rebound in spending in the health-care sector has driven renewed profits at companies like C.R. Bard, which has posted solid revenue growth on strong performance in the vascular business, its largest by revenue. The company has also worked to control costs. "Through the strength of our diversified portfolio, we delivered strong revenue and earnings growth again this quarter, despite the fact that we saw no measurable improvement in hospital volumes and procedures," Chairman and Chief Executive Timothy M. Ring said. C.R. Bard posted a first-quarter profit of $131.9 million, or 1.49 cents a share, up from $120.9 million, or $1.24 a share, a year earlier. Excluding acquisition-related charges, prior-year restructuring costs and other items, earnings rose to $1.51 from $1.25 a share. Revenue rose 7.6% to $700.3 million on both a reported and a constant-currency basis. The company in January projected a per-share profit of $1.43 to $1.47 on 6% to 8% revenue growth. Gross margin rose to 62.2% from 61.2%. Sales in the urology segment edged up 3%, while vascular business revenue jumped 15%. Oncology and surgical specialties revenues grew 7.1% and 5.2%, respectively. Shares rose 1.3% to $104.46 after-hours. The stock has climbed 20% over the past year through the close. -By Drew FitzGerald, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2909;

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