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LabCorp 4Q profit falls 11 pct, as charges add up

BURLINGTON, N.C. (AP) -- Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings' fourth-quarter earnings fell 11 percent, as restructuring charges and other one-time costs weighed on results for the clinical lab services company.

The Burlington, N.C., company earned $120.2 million, or $1.26 per share, in the three months that ended Dec. 31. That compares with net income of $135.4 million, or $1.34 per share, in the final quarter of 2011. Adjusted earnings were $1.54 per share, excluding restructuring charges and amortization expense.

Revenue climbed nearly 3 percent to $1.41 billion.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected, on average, earnings $1.61 per share on $1.39 billion in revenue.

LabCorp said it booked $20.7 million in restructuring and other special charges in the quarter. It also recorded $6.2 million in accelerated amortization tied to the end of a licensing agreement.

The company's testing volume grew nearly 3 percent in the quarter, even though bad weather hampered the growth.

For the full year, LabCorp earned $583.1 million, or $5.99 per share, on $5.67 billion in revenue. Adjusted earnings for the year were $6.82 per share.

For 2013, LabCorp expects adjusted earnings of $6.85 to $7.15, a forecast that includes a hit of about 35 cents per share from Medicare payment reductions.

Analysts expect, on average, earnings of $7.27 per share.

The company also said Friday its board of directors approved a new $1 billion share buyback program.

LabCorp shares fell 2 percent, or $1.82, to $89.81 in Friday morning trading. The stock is still up 4 percent so far this year.