(Corrects diagnostics unit sales to $152.4 million in 8th paragraph, not $142.4 million)
By Bill Berkrot
May 4 (Reuters) - Scientific instruments maker PerkinElmer Inc on Thursday raised its full-year earnings forecast range with the new midpoint ahead of Wall Street estimates and reported slightly higher-than-expected first-quarter profit and revenue as the company rebounded from successive disappointing quarters.
PerkinElmer said it now expects 2017 adjusted earnings of $2.80 to $2.90 per share, up from its prior forecast of $2.75 to $2.85 per share. Analysts on average were looking for $2.82, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
"We come out of the quarter feeling very good," Chief Executive Officer Robert Friel said in a telephone interview. "I'm fairly confident we'll make some real progress this year increasing the long-term growth trajectory of the company."
PerkinElmer, which also makes food safety and environmental testing equipment, said profit from continuing operations fell to $36 million, or 33 cents per share, from $41.7 million, or 38 cents a share, a year ago due to restructuring costs.
Excluding special items, the company said it had adjusted earnings of 55 cents per share. Analysts on average expected 54 cents.
Revenue for the quarter rose 3 percent to $514 million, edging past Wall Street estimates of $506 million.
Sales rose 1 percent to $361.8 million in the discovery and analytical solutions division.
Sales of the diagnostics unit rose 8 percent to $152.4 million with particular strength from newborn screening in China and emerging markets.
After engaging in a reorganization toward the end of last year and the sale of its medical imaging business, PerkinElmer is back on the hunt for deals to grow the company.
"We're quite excited about a robust pipeline of potential acquisition opportunities," Friel said. "With the closing of the divestiture of medical imaging we've got a very strong balance sheet now."
Reporting by Bill Berkrot; Editing by Alistair Bell and Lisa Shumaker