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Omnicare 3Q profit jumps, 2012 forecast rises

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Omnicare Inc., which dispenses drugs for nursing homes and other long-term care centers, saw its third-quarter earnings more than double, as an increase in more profitable generic drugs and some lower costs helped balance prescription declines.

The Cincinnati company also raised its 2012 earnings forecast.

Omnicare said Wednesday it earned $61.4 million, or 55 cents per share, in the three months that ended Sept. 30. That's up from earnings of $27.9 million, or 24 cents per share, in last year's quarter. Adjusted earnings, which exclude one-time items like debt redemption costs, came in at 86 cents per share.

Revenue fell 3 percent to $1.5 billion.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected, on average, earnings of 80 cents per share on about $1.54 billion in revenue.

Omnicare also provides consulting and data management services for skilled nursing, assisted living and other chronic care institutions.

It said revenue from its long-term care group fell 8 percent to $1.17 billion, as prescriptions fell. But adjusted operating earnings from that segment climbed 10 percent.

Several popular prescription drugs like the blood thinner Plavix and the antipsychotic Seroquel have lost patent protection within the past year. Their generic alternatives can hurt a company's revenue because they are cheaper than brand-name drugs. But they also can boost profitability because they come with a wider margin between the cost for a company to purchase the drugs and the reimbursement it receives.

Specialty care group revenue climbed 21 percent to $333 million. The company's cost of sales, its largest expense, also fell 6 percent to $1.13 billion.

Omnicare now expects 2012 adjusted earnings of $3.30 to $3.36 per share, up from its previous forecast for earnings of $3.22 to $3.28 per share. It still expects revenue to range between $6.1 billion and $6.2 billion.

Analysts expect, on average, earnings of $3.25 per share on $6.2 billion in revenue.

Company shares climbed 82 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $34.54 in Wednesday morning trading.