Baxter (NYSE:BAX) shares slipped today in pre-market trading after the healthcare giant posted third-quarter sales that missed the consensus forecast on Wall Street and cut its sales outlook for the rest of the year.
Chicago-area Baxter posted profits of $544 million, or $1 even per share, on sales of $2.77 billion for the three months ended Sept. 30, for a whopping bottom-line gain of 116.7% on sales growth of 2.2% compared with Q3 2017.
Adjusted to exclude one-time items, earnings per share were 80¢, 6¢ ahead of the average on The Street, where analysts were looking for sales of $2.78 billion.
“Baxter’s third-quarter performance reflects the benefit of our ongoing efforts to enhance operational excellence and innovation at the company,” chairman & CEO Joe Almeida said in prepared remarks. “While we remain confident in Baxter’s longer-term financial outlook, we have experienced a slower-than-expected return to pre-Hurricane Maria purchasing levels across certain businesses, as well as an impact from distributor de-stocking for select products that has depressed our top-line performance in 2018.
“Our commercial teams are working diligently to address customer needs and recapture these sales, and we remain focused on relentless expense management across the company. In parallel, we continue to pursue capital deployment opportunities to fuel organic and inorganic growth that will help drive increased value for patients, healthcare providers and investors,” Almeida said.
Baxter raised the low end of its earnings outlook, saying it now expects to report adjusted EPS of $2.98 to $3, compared with $2.94 to $3 previously, but cut its sales growth guidance to 5%, down from 6% previously.
BAX shares, which closed down -2.4% at $68.66 apiece yesterday, were trading at $64.18 today in pre-market activity, down -6.5%.