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Alere posts smaller 4Q loss as charges decrease

WALTHAM, Mass. (AP) -- Medical diagnostics company Alere Inc. on Friday reported a smaller fourth-quarter loss compared to a year ago, when it wrote down the value of its health information business by $384 million.

During the latest quarter Alere reported $105 million in amortization costs and $10 million in restructuring charges, among other items. But a year ago the company's fourth-quarter results included $384 million in impairment charges from the health information unit, $81 million in amortization costs, and several smaller charges.

Alere said it lost $68 million, or 84 cents per share, in the latest quarter. A year ago it took a loss of $369.3 million, or $4.67 per share. Alere said it earned 55 cents per share if one-time costs are excluded from the latest quarter. Revenue rose 16 percent, to $755.8 million from $651.1 million.

Analysts were expecting net income of 56 cents per share and $716 million in revenue, according to FactSet. Analyst estimates generally exclude one-time items like amortization, restructuring, and impairment costs.

Alere said revenue from its professional diagnostics business rose 18 percent to $584.1 million, mostly because of acquisitions it has made over the last year. It reported greater revenue from infectious disease, toxicology, and diabetes testing. Health information revenue grew 4 percent to $131 million as women and children's health and patient self-testing revenues improved.

Shares of Alere rose 51 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $22.06 in morning trading.

Alere reduced its loss to $99.5 million, or $1.23 per share, in 2012 after it lost $131.7 million, or $1.58 per share, in 2011. Its revenue rose 18 percent, to $2.79 billion from $2.36 billion.