Medtronic Inc., the world's largest medical device maker, announces its fiscal fourth-quarter and full-year earnings Tuesday morning before markets open.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Two weeks ago Medtronic announced it had selected the head of General Electric's Healthcare unit to serve as its new chief executive, closing a half-year search to fill the position. Omar Ishrak assumes control of the company June 13.
On Tuesday Medtronic is expected to announce sales growth and earnings-per-share guidance for the coming year, setting the playing field for its incoming CEO. Analysts expect the company's estimates to rebound slightly from the current year on anticipation of new product launches and savings from layoffs.
WHY IT MATTERS: Ishrak takes the reins as Medtronic and other device makers face a daunting set of challenges: sluggish sales, reduced reimbursement from insurers and tighter regulation by the federal government. Medtronic's two biggest businesses — implantable defibrillators and spinal implants — have faced weakening sales due to safety recalls and the loss of health insurance for unemployed workers. As a result, the company announced 2,000 layoffs in February.
Analyst Rick Wise of Leerink Swann said in a note that the company's "restructuring initiative should help generate more positive leverage — positioning Medtronic for continued mid-single-digit earnings-per-share growth in fiscal-year 2012." Wise said the company's guidance could range between $3.55 and $3.60.
WHAT'S EXPECTED: Analysts polled by FactSet expect earnings of 93 cents per share for the quarter on sales of $4.29 billion.
LAST YEAR'S QUARTER: Last year the Minneapolis company earned 86 cents per share on revenue of $4.2 billion.