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The continued rise in pet ownership throughout the pandemic has helped Patterson Cos.

The Mendota Heights-based company supplied products to dentists and also to veterinarians and the animal health market. Dental offices are still down in traffic because of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the company's companion animal business saw quarterly sales growth of 21%.

The overall animal health unit, though, had mixed results, with the companion animal side up but the farm animal market saw continued disruptions. Meat-processing plants also continue to see disruption because of COVID-19.

Overall, the company saw net income of $48.8 million, or 50 cents per share, for the third quarter ended Jan. 23. That's more than double the profits for the same quarter last year.

"Our commitment to strong execution and operational excellence, combined with our ongoing investments to broaden and enhance our value proposition, has enabled us to build additional momentum across our entire business — including increased sales and margin expansion in both our dental and animal health segments during the third quarter," said Patterson Chief Executive Mark Walchirk in a news release.

Adjusted earnings per share were 58 cents in the quarter, exceeding Wall Street analysts' expectations of 52 cents. Revenue for the quarter, which rose 6.5% to $1.6 billion, came in 3.3% higher than expectations.

Revenue increased 6.5% to $1.6 billion with stronger sales gains of 9.4% from animal health. The dental segment saw a 3.6% gain.

The majority of dental offices have yet to return to their pre-pandemic levels, Walchirk told analysts on the company's earnings call.

"We know that some patients are still hesitant to visit a dentist under the current conditions," Walchirk said.

The Minnesota Dental Association surveyed its members in November, and 60% of the respondents said their patient loads were at 75% of pre-pandemic levels while only 23% said they were back to their full schedules.

With traffic levels still depressed, dental offices may be more hesitant purchasing bigger ticket items for their practices.

But Walchirk also noted to analysts that their equipment sales were also lagging a very strong quarter from the year before, yet still exceeded internal expectations.

Shares of Patterson ended Wednesday at $30.19, down 7%. Shares over the last 52 weeks have ranged from $12.93 to $36.88 per share.

Patrick Kennedy • 612-673-7926