MADISON, N.J., Oct. 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (NYSE: DGX), the world's leading provider of diagnostic testing, information and services, announced that for the third quarter ended September 30, 2010, income from continuing operations increased to $198 million, or $1.13 per diluted share, from $192 million, or $1.02 per diluted share, for the third quarter of 2009. Third quarter 2010 results include a benefit of $0.08 per share, primarily associated with the favorable resolution of tax contingencies.
Third quarter revenues of $1.9 billion were 1.7% below the prior year level. Clinical testing revenues were 1.7% below the prior year. Revenue per requisition was 1.3% below the prior year, and was unchanged from the second quarter level. Clinical testing volume, measured by the number of requisitions, was 0.3% below the prior year level.
"We grew earnings in the third quarter despite continued softness in physician office visits. While revenue was down, we are confident in the future and are making progress executing our plans to accelerate profitable growth – by promoting new gene-based and esoteric tests, enhancing sales effectiveness and improving operational efficiency," said Surya N. Mohapatra, Ph.D., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Furthermore, we are committed to using our substantial cash flow to generate value for our shareholders through both acquisitions and share repurchases. So far this year, we have returned $750 million to our shareholders through share repurchases, and now have flexibility to make $250 million of additional repurchases in the fourth quarter."
For the third quarter, operating income was $337 million, or 18.1% of revenues, compared to $348 million, or 18.4% of revenues, for the third quarter of 2009. Bad debt expense as a percentage of revenues was 4.