Quest to sell HemoCue blood diagnostic unit

Quest expects $89.5M in charges from sales of 2 businesses, $21M in lost Sandy revenue

Associated Press

MADISON, N.J. (AP) -- Medical laboratory operator Quest Diagnostics Inc. said Wednesday it plans to sell its HemoCue diagnostic products unit, which makes blood and urine tests.

Quest has announced the sale of two businesses in the last few weeks, and says it wants to focus on its diagnostic information services business. Quest said it will take charges of $89.5 million, or 56 cents per share, in the fourth quarter associated with the two sales. Those charges include impairment costs for HemoCue and a loss on the sale of its OralDNA business to Access Genetics.

On average, analysts surveyed by FactSet forecast fourth-quarter earnings per share of $1.08.

Quest will treat the businesses as discontinued operations in its fourth-quarter results. That change will reduce its 2012 net income by about 9 cents per share and will cut its revenue by $117 million.

HemoCue makes blood and urine tests that are used at the site of testing without being sent to a central lab. OralDNA makes salivary tests used to diagnose conditions like periodontal disease and oral human papillomavirus. Quest agreed to sell the business on Dec. 31.

Separately, the company determined that Superstorm Sandy reduced its fourth-quarter net income by 6 cents per share and revenue by $21 million.

Quest will report its quarterly results Jan. 23. The company's shares rose 2 cents to $59.88 in morning trading.

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