Henry Schein reports record 4Q profits

Melville-based Henry Schein's net income rose more than

Melville-based Henry Schein's net income rose more than 7 percent to $112.5 million, or $1.26 per share, during the last three months of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011. Sales climbed nearly 3 percent, to $2.4 billion. (Credit: Ed Betz, 2012)

Henry Schein Inc., Long Island's biggest company by revenue, reported record fourth-quarter revenue and profits Wednesday as its sales of supplies to dentists, doctors and veterinarians continued to grow around the globe.

The Melville-based company's net income rose more than 7 percent to $112.5 million, or $1.26 per share, during the last three months of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011. Sales climbed nearly 3 percent, to $2.4 billion.

"Once again we believe we gained market share during the quarter in each of our business groups, driven by strong domestic results across the board and despite some challenges in certain overseas markets," chairman and chief executive Stanley M. Bergman said in a statement.

Despite the overall increase, revenue for the company's largest unit, dental supplies, dipped 2.4 percent, to $1.3 billion, as the sagging European economy depressed equipment sales.

Profits at the company have boomed in recent years as worldwide demand has grown for dental implants, surgical instruments and other medical supplies. In the United States that growth has been fueled by baby boomers, whose relative affluence and education make them more likely than members of previous generations to visit doctors, have their teeth cleaned or take pets to veterinarians.

Henry Schein's stock is up 22 percent over the last 12 months. But some investors are nervous the company is showing signs of slowing. Despite its best-ever fourth-quarter sales and net income, Henry Schein's stock slipped 1.12 percent Wednesday, to $89.36.

Jeff Johnson, an analyst for Robert W. Baird & Co. of Milwaukee, said Henry Schein may see its growth rate slow a bit in the first quarter of 2013. That issue appeared to be weighing on investors' confidence Wednesday, he said.

Henry Schein employs nearly 15,000 people, including roughly 1,200 on Long Island. It operates in 24 countries.

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