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Dental equipment sales lift Patterson 4Q income

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Patterson Cos. net income rose 2 percent in the fourth quarter on improved sales of dental equipment and software, but sales in the medical unit slid and the company expects more of the same in the near term.

Revenue from the dental segment grew 6 percent as sales of equipment climbed higher. Revenue from services and products like software and disposable supplies also improved, as did revenue from the company's veterinary segment.

However, within the rehabilitation supply and equipment unit, sales declined to $123.6 million from $130.0 million.

"Patterson Medical sales continue to be hampered by uncertainty surrounding healthcare reform and sluggish global economic and market conditions," said Chairman and CEO Scott Anderson. "These current macroeconomic factors are likely to persist in the short-term, yet we are confident in the long-term value of this business."

Overall net income grew to $63.6 million, or 62 cents per share, from $62.1 million, or 58 cents per share. Revenue rose 3 percent, to $964.9 million from $936.3 million. The company's fiscal fourth quarter ended April 27.

Profits were in line with Wall Street expectations, though revenue fell short.

Net income for the entire fiscal year fell 1 percent, to $210.3 million, or $2.03 per share, from $212.8 million, or $1.92 per share. Revenue rose 3 percent, to $3.64 billion from $3.54 billion.

The company expects to earn between $2.10 and $2.20 per share in fiscal 2014. Patterson said it will spend about $10 million, or 6 cents per share, on technology improvements in the current fiscal year, and it expects to spend a total of $55 million to $65 million on those improvements over the next five years.

Analysts expect Patterson to report net income of $2.23 per share on average.

Shares of Patterson slipped 14 cents to $38.86 in afternoon trading.