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Quest Diagnostics Reports Growth in Revenue and Earnings for Fourth Quarter 2008 and Provides 2009 Guidance
Date:1/26/2009

with further improvements in operating efficiencies."

For the fourth quarter, operating income increased to $317 million, or 17.6% of revenues, from $312 million, or 17.6% of revenues in 2007. The $16 million charge reduced fourth quarter operating income as a percentage of revenues by approximately 1%. Bad debt expense, as a percentage of revenues, improved to 4.3%, compared to 4.4% in 2007. Days sales outstanding improved to 44 days, compared to 45 days at the end of the third quarter of 2008 and 48 days a year ago. Cash from operations increased to $363 million from $355 million in the fourth quarter of 2007. During the quarter, the company repurchased $254 million of its common shares; reduced debt by $45 million; and made capital expenditures of $73 million. Cash and cash equivalents was $254 million at the end of the fourth quarter.

Full Year Performance

Diluted earnings per share increased 14% to $3.23 from $2.84 in 2007. Income from continuing operations increased to $632 million, from $554 million in 2007. Revenues increased 8.1% to $7.2 billion. For the full year, the May 31, 2007 acquisition of AmeriPath increased consolidated revenues by 5.0%.

Operating income for 2008 increased to $1.2 billion, or 16.9% of revenues, compared to $1.1 billion, or 16.3% of revenues in 2007. Cash from operations for 2008 increased to $1.1 billion from $927 million in 2007. During 2008, the company repurchased $254 million of its common shares; reduced debt by $458 million, and made capital expenditures of $213 million.

Outlook for 2009

For 2009, the company expects results from continuing operations as follows: earnings per diluted share of between $3.50 and $3.70, excluding special charges; revenue growth of approximately 3%, and operating income approaching 18% of revenues. Cash from operations is expected to approximate $1 billion, before the expected payment of the $316
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SOURCE Quest Diagnostics
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