UPDATE 3-McKesson quarterly profit meets expectations

* Q3 net earnings $1.19 per share vs Street view $1.19

* Revenue up 4 pct to $28.3 billion

* Sees full year EPS $4.55 to $4.70

* Shares up slightly in extended trade
(Adds company comment from conference call, analyst comment)

By Bill Berkrot

NEW YORK, Jan 26 (BestGrowthStock) – Pharmaceutical wholesaler
McKesson Corp (MCK.N: ) reported a quarterly profit on Tuesday
that met Wall Street expectations with results helped by higher
demand for flu vaccines, and the company raised its full year
earnings forecast.

The company said it saw strong demand across its businesses
from the impact of the flu season, adding that it expects flu
to contribute 35 cents to 40 cents to its full year earnings
per share.

Last year, McKesson was selected by the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention to distribute H1N1 flu vaccines.
The company said demand for other flu-related products and
sales of more profitable generic drugs also helped third
quarter results.

Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey Campbell told analysts on a
conference call that McKesson hoped to find business
opportunities in fiscal 2011 that can match the contribution
flu will make to fiscal 2010 profit, although he cautioned that
it could be difficult.

McKesson posted a net profit of $326 million, or $1.19 per
share, for its fiscal third quarter ended Dec. 31, compared to
a net loss of $20 million, or 7 cents per share, a year ago,
when the company took a large litigation charge.

Analysts on average expected a profit of $1.19 per share,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Based on results for the first nine months of its fiscal
year, the San Francisco-based company boosted its earnings
forecast range by 10 cents and now expects to earn $4.55 to
$4.70 per share for the year ending March 31, excluding the
favorable impact of a litigation credit in the second quarter.

Wall Street is looking for $4.55 per share.

“When you bake it all together with the increased guidance
and the core business performing well, it was a strong
quarter,” Deutsche Bank analyst Ross Muken said.

“The tailwind of flu definitely supported the results,”
Leerink Swann analyst George Hill said.

Hill said investors might be somewhat disappointed given
the outstanding results reported by rival wholesaler
AmerisourceBergen (ABC.N: ) earlier Tuesday.

But he said expectations for the fiscal fourth quarter
could help offset any disappointment, and McKesson shares were
up slightly in after-hours trading.

Amerisource reported better-than-expected quarterly profit
and revenue and its shares reached an all-time high Tuesday.
[ID:nN25125046]

Amerisource said net income jumped 36 percent to $151.3
million, or 52 cents a share, topping Wall Street expectations
by 6 cents.

Cardinal Health Inc (CAH.N: ), the last of the big three U.S.
drug wholesalers, is due to report its quarterly earnings on
Thursday.

McKesson revenue for the quarter rose 4 percent to $28.3
billion, topping Wall Street estimates of $27.68 billion
despite the impact from the loss of some customers.

Revenue from the drug distribution business rose 4 percent
to $27.5 billion, while the technology solutions unit, which
includes services and software systems, saw sales rise 3
percent to $771 million.

“The big question for McKesson is how are they going to
deploy their cash,” Muken said.

“They have $3 billion or so of cash on the balance sheet to
deploy. That’s a nice war chest that they’ve build up.”

Stock Report
(Reporting by Bill Berkrot; Editing by Bernard Orr)

UPDATE 3-McKesson quarterly profit meets expectations