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Sirona Dental profit flat in Oct-Dec quarter

NEW YORK (AP) -- Sirona Dental Systems' fiscal first-quarter earnings were nearly unchanged due to an international sales slump and higher costs.

Still, results in the October-December quarter beat expectations, and shares rose $4.17, or 6 percent, to $73.65 just before the opening bell.

The New York company, which makes dental equipment, said Friday that international revenue fell more than 3 percent. Sirona prioritized shipments to its U.S. market — where sales climbed 29 percent in the fourth quarter — and there were production constraints with its new Omnicam scanner device. The flow of orders was also heavier toward the end of the period, which suggests more sales in the current quarter.

Overall, Sirona Dental Systems Inc. earned $38.3 million, or 68 cents per share, in the three months that ended Dec. 31. That compares with net income of $38.3 million, or 67 cents per share, in the final quarter of 2011, when the company had more shares outstanding.

Adjusted earnings, which exclude gains and losses on foreign currency conversions and marking down the value of acquired assets, one-time items like amortization and depreciation expenses, totaled 94 cents per share.

Revenue rose 5.5 percent to $272.4 million.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected, on average, earnings of 85 cents per share on $266.8 million in revenue.

Sirona develops and sells dental products that include its CAD/CAM restoration systems, three-dimensional imaging systems, hand pieces and dental treatment centers.

Sales of the CAD/CAM systems grew 13.5 percent, and rose nearly 3 percent for imaging systems. Sales of instruments fell almost 6 percent.

Selling, general and administrative expenses rose 16 percent to $85.8 million.

Sirona still expects adjusted earnings of $3.33 to $3.43 per share in fiscal 2013, which ends in September. Analysts expect, on average, earnings of $3.40 per share.

Friday's report covered the final full quarter under Chairman and CEO Jost Fischer, who is retiring Feb. 20. The company said in November it will promote President Jeffrey Slovin to become CEO, and board member Thomas Jetter will become non-executive chairman.