Danaher's fourth-quarter earnings rise 12.5 percent

Danaher said Tuesday that net earnings for the fourth quarter jumped 12.5 percent to $630.4 million as sales in the three-month period rose 5.5 percent year-over-year to just under $5 billion, ahead of analyst expectation of $4.8 billion. "We were pleased by the strong finish to 2012, which was broad-based across most of our businesses," remarked CEO H. Lawrence Culp.

Sales in Danaher's Life Sciences & Diagnostics unit reached $1.8 billion, up from the $1.7 billion recorded in the year-ago quarter. Operating profit for the business was $261.7 million, rising from $225.2 million in the same three-month period of 2011.

For 2012, net earnings reached $2.3 billion, versus $1.9 billion in the previous year, as sales grew 13.5 percent to $18.3 billion. Full-year Life Sciences & Diagnostics unit sales reached $6.5 billion, up from $4.6 billion, while operating profit for the business more than doubled to $861.1 million from $402.3 million.

The company said that it expects to close the sale of its Apex Tool Group within the next two weeks and therefore lowered its 2013 guidance to a range of between $3.32 to $3.47 per share from its December forecast of $3.40 to $3.55 a share, and below analysts' expectations of $3.52. Culp noted that "we will continue our focus on gaining market share and remaining active on the acquisition front in 2013."

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