Monday, January 24, 2022

Quest Diagnostics raises profit forecast on COVID testing surge

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On Wednesday, Quest Diagnostics showed good results in 2021 as the volume of COVID-19 tests increased with the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant in the United States.

Quest noted that it has performed more than 120,000 PCR tests per day in the last two weeks of 2021 and more than 150,000 tests per day earlier this year.

“We’ve seen our volumes grow dramatically in the fourth quarter, especially in the last two weeks of December, and that will continue in January,” Steve Ruskowski, CEO of Quest Diagnostics, said at the annual JP Morgan Health Care conference.

While the COVID-19 test capability is expected to continue in the first quarter, demand will eventually decline in 2022 compared to last year, Ruskovsky added.

Quest’s comments echo the sentiment of COVID-19 test maker Abbott Laboratories, which also said it expects strong demand for tests in the near future.

Quest noted that it conducted an average of 83,000 COVID-19 molecular tests per day in the third quarter, which ended Sept. 30, due to the proliferation of the Delta variant.

The CEO of Quest noted that the company observed a “sharp increase” in testing of samples for COVID-19 in the fourth quarter, particularly in the last two weeks of December.

Quest now expects earnings to change from $ 13.50 to $ 13.90 per share to $ 14.24 in 2021, given the growing demand for the COVID-19 test and the recovery of the core test business.

He also said he expects his adjusted profit in 2022 to exceed the previous high of $ 7.40 to $ 8 per share.

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