Henry Schein said the company saw great demand in the...

Henry Schein said the company saw great demand in the second half of 2020 for pandemic-related products. Credit: Barry Sloan

Henry Schein Inc. in Melville reported increases in sales and profit for the October-December period compared with a year earlier because of high demand for pandemic-related products, such as masks, face shields and COVID-19 tests, officials said on Wednesday.

The distributor of dental and medical supplies said its profit totaled $143.6 million in the final three months of last year, a gain of about $600,000 from 2019. The figures exclude one-time items.

Sales from the company’s continuing operations in the fourth quarter totaled $3.2 billion, an 18.6% increase, year over year. Henry Schein is Long Island’s largest public company based on revenue.

CEO Stanley M. Bergman said there was great demand in the second half of 2020 for personal protective equipment and coronavirus tests by the company’s customers: office practices of dentists and physicians.

"We were successful in supporting practices that were initially open for emergency services and also assisting customers preparing to restore practices to increased operating capacity," he said in a statement.

Sales to dental offices grew 7.2% to $1.8 billion in the October-December period compared with a year earlier. Sales to physicians’ offices were up 48.5% to $1.2 billion.

The latter "experienced strong year-over-year sales growth in the fourth quarter driven by continued demand for PPE and COVID-19 related products, most specifically for COVID-19 test sales," Bergman said. "We believe solid COVID-19 test sales growth is likely to continue while COVID-19 cases remain at relatively high levels."

For the year, Henry Schein reported a profit of $425 million on sales of $10 billion. It’s the last Fortune 500 company to be based on Long Island.

On Wall Street, Henry Schein shares closed down $5.71, or 8%, to $64.87 on the Nasdaq stock market on Wednesday.

Separately, the company's request for tax breaks from Suffolk County to support a $15 million upgrade to its Melville headquarters is the subject of a virtual public hearing on Tuesday at 2 p.m. To participate, go to nwsdy.li/hearings.

Last month, the county's Industrial Development Agency granted preliminary approval for $3.1 million in tax aid for Henry Schein, including $2.1 million off property taxes over 15 years on the HQ, or a 13% savings. In return for IDA help, the company has pledged to keep 1,223 HQ jobs. Employees earn, on average, $131,400 per year, records show.

The IDA is expected to consider final approval for the tax breaks at its Feb. 25 virtual board meeting.

Henry Schein has more than 19,000 employees in 31 countries and territories around the world. It started in Queens as a pharmacy in 1932.

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