Science, health care and technology conglomerate Danaher Corp. (NYSE: DHR – $83.96) posted revenue and profit increases in its fourth quarter. For the period, the company posted earnings of $747 million, up from $688.6 million a year earlier. Revenue climbed 6% to $4.58 billion. The company had core sales growth of 3.5% and deal-driven growth of 4%. Adjusted net earnings per share was $1.05, which reflects adjustments for acquisitions and tax-related items in the spin-off of its industrial business. This represents a 15.5% increase over the comparable 2015 amount. Analysts had expected $4.53 billion in revenue and adjusted earnings per share of $1.03.
For the first quarter 2017, the Danaher anticipates that adjusted earnings are expected to be $0.82 to $0.85 per share, in line with Street estimates. For the full year 2017, the company anticipates diluted net earnings per share to be in the range of $3.85 to $3.95. Free cash flow in 2017 should again exceed net income. The balance sheet is strong and the company’s acquisition pace is likely to continue. Although the shares are trading at an adjusted record high, I continue to like this stock as a conservative 3- to 5-year capital appreciation vehicle.