Henry Schein Inc. in Melville saw first quarter revenue jump...

Henry Schein Inc. in Melville saw first quarter revenue jump more than 20% as people returned to their dentists' offices.  Credit: Barry Sloan

Henry Schein Inc.'s stock soared Tuesday after the company reported a 20.4% increase in first-quarter revenue driven by strength in sales of dental products as patients returned after COVID-19 slowdowns.

The Melville-based provider of products to the offices of dentists and physicians said net sales for the quarter ended March 27 rose 20.4% to $2.9 billion versus the prior year's period.

Shares of Henry Schein climbed almost 8% Tuesday, to close at $79.87.

"While end markets in most geographies still face challenges due to the ongoing pandemic, the overall market recovery and our improving financial results have continued," said Stanley M. Bergman, chairman and chief executive.

Bergman said that patient traffic has "steadily improved" in global dental markets since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sales of personal protective equipment "have begun to moderate" in the dental and medical markets compared to recent growth, but Bergman said they are expected to remain at "elevated levels."

Quarterly diluted earnings per share from continuing operations were $1.16 versus 91 cents in the prior year.

Henry Schein's dental unit, the company's largest, reported global sales of $1.8 billion for the quarter, an increase of 21.3%.

The company also raised its 2021 guidance for earnings per share on the basis of nonstandard accounting.

In a research note, Evercore ISI analyst Elizabeth Anderson said that global dental results came in above her forecast, but the medical market was softer than expected.

She cited a light flu season and pricing pressure on personal protective gear as possible reasons for the medical shortfall.

Henry Schein, Long Island's largest public company based on revenue, is a Fortune 500 company and a member of the S&P 500 index.

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