Medical-device maker Boston Scientific Corp. (Natick, MA, U.S.) has announced its 2003 fourth-quarter results. The company had net income of U.S. $137 million, or $0.16 a share, for the latest quarter, up from $105 million, or $0.12 a share, a year earlier.
The per-share earnings figures reflect a 2-for-1 stock split that took effect in November 2003.
Excluding $4 million in unspecified charges, the company said it would have posted earnings of $141 million, or $0.17 a share, up from $130 million, or $0.15 a share, a year ago.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting the company to report fourth-quarter earnings, excluding items, of $0.16 a share.
Sales for the latest quarter rose 15 percent to $939 million from $814 million.
International sales jumped 46 percent to $457 million amid a 58 percent surge in European sales. This fourth-quarter surge in profit is being attributed to sales of stents in Europe and other overseas markets. Stents are tiny metal scaffolds used to prop open arteries after they have been unclogged by a procedure known as balloon angioplasty.
In the United States, sales slipped 3.6 percent to $482 million.
In November, Boston Scientific's drug-coated Taxus stent won unanimous backing from a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel, moving it closer to competition with a rival Johnson & Johnson device already on the market.
Taxus and Johnson & Johnson's Cypher are the first of a new generation of the devices that are coated with drugs aimed at preventing arteries from reclogging following angioplasty.
Johnson & Johnson's stent went on sale last April in the United States, where it has gained the bulk of a $2 billion U.S. market. By 2007, analysts estimate the U.S. market for drug-coated stents will rise to about $4.4 billion.
For all of 2003, Boston Scientific had net income of $472 million, or 56 cents a share, up 27 percent from $373 million, or 45 cents a share, in 2002. Sales increased 19 percent to $3.48 billion from $2.92 billion. (AFP)
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