Lower than expected sales of dental equipment in the second quarter led to a 7 percent decrease in net income at Mendota Heights-based Patterson Companies.

The company citing the sales shortfall and an outlook for continued economic uncertainty has also reduced its previously-issued earnings per share guidance for the remainder of their fiscal year. The company is now expecting earnings per share for fiscal 2013 to be in the range of $2 to $2.06 per share, down from the previous guidance of $2.10 to $2.16 per share.

The value-added distributor to dental, veterinarian and rehabilitation supply markets reported sales for the quarter ended Oct. 27 of $867.2 million, a 1.2 percent increase over the same period last year. Analysts had expected sales in the range of $883 to $911 million.

Net income was $45.5 million, a 7 percent decrease compared to the $49 million in the second quarter last year.

Earnings per share for the quarter were 44 cents, up 1 cent per share, as the company repurchased approximately 1.6 million of its common shares during the quarter under a 25 million-share buyback agreement that expires in 2016.

Patterson's president and CEO, Scott Anderson, was not pleased with the company's operating results but said in a news release, "While our business, like many others, are challenged by current economic conditions, we will continue to make the investments that position Patterson to capitalize upon opportunities in each of our markets."

Sales at the company's largest business, Patterson Dental, were $549.1 million, substantially unchanged from last year's second quarter. Sales at Webster Veterinary were up 6.8 percent to $184.4 million, though a change in a distribution agreement for nutritional products in its fourth quarter last year reduced the reported sales growth of the Webster's division by 6 percentage points. Sales of its rehabilitation supply products were flat at $133. 7 million.

Patterson's shares were trading around $33.81 per share in early morning trading, down $2.21 or 6.1 percent.

Patrick Kennedy • 612-673-7926