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Boston Sci posts 3Q profit despite sales drop

Tue, 10/19/2010 - 1:45pm
MATTHEW PERRONE - AP Business Writer - Associated Press

Shares of medical device maker Boston Scientific jumped Tuesday after the company said it swung to a profit in the third quarter thanks to lower restructuring costs.

The higher earnings came despite a decline in sales of the company's top-selling devices, heart-pacing devices and artery-opening stents.

Company shares rose 17 cents, or 2.85 percent, to $6.14 in after-hours trading.

For the quarter ended Sept. 30, the company earned $190 million, or 12 cents a share. That was a turn around from a net loss of $94 million, or 6 cents a share, in the same period last year. At that time, the company had racked up more than $385 million in restructuring and litigation costs.

Excluding one-time charges, the company would have earned 19 cents per share in the most recent period.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings per share of 6 cents on revenue of $1.9 billion.

Total company sales fell 5 percent to $1.92 billion during the period.

Boston Scientific's brand is still recovering from a temporary halt in marketing of its best-selling defibrillator implants in March because of a paperwork error. The monthlong suspension came after the company failed to notify federal health authorities within 10 days of making manufacturing changes to the devices.

Boston Scientific makes nearly 15 percent of its revenue from defibrillators, and analysts estimate the company lost 3 percent of its market share to competitors Medtronic and St. Jude Medical during the sales suspension.

Defibrillators are surgically implanted in the upper chest, where they monitor the heart for deadly irregular heartbeats and use electrical jolts to shock it back to a normal rhythm.

Sales of the company's cardiac rhythm management devices — which includes pacemakers as well as defibrillators — fell 9.5 percent to $550 million in the third quarter. Sales of stents fell more than 12 percent to $396 million during the period.

Despite the sales declines, Chief Executive Ray Elliott said the company's results point toward future earnings growth.

"These results reflect our recovery from the (cardiac rhythm management) ship hold and our successful focus on regaining share," Elliott said in a statement.

Elliot took control of the company last year and has tried to reposition Boston Scientific by reducing financial risk, cutting 10 percent of the work force and restructuring management.

The Natick, Mass.-based company has struggled in recent years to make up for slowing sales of its top-selling products, implantable defibrillators and stents, Those products have been hurt by safety concerns, increased competition and hospital belt-tightening.

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