Sonic Healthcare forecasts 12% profit growth


International medical diagnostics company Sonic Healthcare (ASX: SHL) has reported revenue growth of 4.1% over the past 12 months to $3.48 billion and an increase in net profit after tax of 6% to $335 million. Earnings per share grew 4.5% to 84.3 cents.

Sonic, which specialises in laboratory medicine, pathology and radiology services, also announced a 2 cent increase in the final dividend to 37 cents per share, which takes the full year dividend to 62 cents per share.

Perhaps most pleasing of all was the company’s outlook statement. At current exchange rates management is forecasting a 12% increase in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, which could lead to an even higher growth rate in net profit given management also expects interest expense to decline by around 10% in financial year 2014.

Sonic’s results add to a steady stream of solid earnings from the health/medical sector. So far this August shareholders in firms including Primary Health Care (ASX: PRY), CSL (ASX: CSL) and ResMed (ASX: RMD) have enjoyed impressive earnings growth and increases in dividends.

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Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur owns shares in Primary Health Care.

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