Hill-Rom profit drops, beat expectations

Hill-Rom Holdings Inc. topped analysts’ expectations in its fiscal third
quarter even as hospital-spending cuts clipped its revenue by 9 percent, the company announced late yesterday.

The
Batesville-based maker of hospital equipment reported profit of $20.2 million, or 32 cents per share, in the period ended
June 30. The numbers excluded several charges and marked a 6-percent decline from the same quarter a year earlier, when Hill-Rom
earned $21.5 million, or 34 cents per share.

Analysts expected earnings of 28 cents per share. Revenue for the quarter
fell nearly 9 percent, to $334.7 million, compared with the same period last year.

However, President and CEO Peter
H. Soderberg noted the earnings matched its fiscal second-quarter performance.

“While we cannot predict the timing
of when hospitals and other providers around the world will return to more normalized capital acquisition behavior, we are
using this recessionary period … to prepare the company for strong and profitable growth once demand for our products inevitably
return,” Soderberg said.

Hill-Rom bumped up the bottom end of its profit forecast for the year. It now expects to earn
from $1.03 per share to $1.13 per share. The company had anticipated earning 85 cents to $1.15.

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