Mead Johson Gains Most Ever as Earnings Top Estimates

Mead Johnson Nutrition Co., the world’s largest baby-formula maker, surged the most since its February 2009 initial public offering after reporting fourth-quarter earnings that exceeded analysts’ estimates.

The shares rose 12 percent to $76 at the close in New York, the biggest single-day increase since Feb. 11, 2009, when the company split from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.

Earnings, excluding one-time items, were 72 cents a share, topping by 4 cents the average of 14 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The Glenview, Illinois-based company had reduced its outlook for 2012 in October due to fewer births in the U.S. in 2011 and because reports linking its formula to contamination reduced consumption of its product.

Mead Johnson forecast 2013 adjusted earnings of $3.22 to $3.30 a share, less than the average analyst estimate of $3.34.