Medtronic Inc. on Tuesday reported a 10 percent jump in its fiscal first-quarter profit, in line with analysts' expectations and continuing a solid trend of revenue growth across nearly all its businesses.
Despite the solid numbers, analysts expressed caution Tuesday. The company's stock price reflected the uncertainty and ended down 2.3 percent, or $1.27, at $52.83. Medtronic's stock is up more than 28 percent so far this year.
The medical device maker reported net earnings of $953 million, or 93 cents per share, for the three months ended July 26. Revenue was $4.1 billion, up 2 percent from the same quarter a year ago — or 3 percent after adjusting for the impact of foreign currency.
As it has done for several quarters, Medtronic again reported more-robust gains in international revenue — up 6 percent to $1.887 billion — than in the United States.
International sales comprised 46 percent of Medtronic's worldwide total for the quarter and emerging-market revenue of $504 million was up 15 percent compared to the same quarter last year.
"Our [first-quarter] results reflect that we are broadly outperforming our sector," said Omar Ishrak, Medtronic chairman and chief executive. "At the same time, we continue to strengthen and geographically diversify our business and remain confident in both our outlook for the remainder of the year and our long-term competitive position in the changing health care environment."
"Overall, they met expectations," said Jeff Windau of Edward Jones Investments. "But if you peel back some numbers, there is a little more uncertainty within the quarter."
He noted, for example, that Medtronic's U.S. defibrillator sales fell by $16 million, about 2 percent, compared to the same period last year. Also weighing on investors was uncertainty Medtronic expressed over the potential impact of German litigation regarding Medtronic's CoreValve replacement aortic valve as well as concerns that China might limit prices on medical devices. "You just had a lot of moving pieces," Windau said.
In a note to investors, analyst Danielle Antalffy of Leerink Swann Research cautioned that such uncertainties mean Medtronic's organic sales growth and earnings guidance for the full fiscal year "may be at risk."
Ishrak expressed confidence that weaker implant numbers for the quarter in the United States constitute a temporary blip. He attributed declines to hospitals pulling back on bulk buying of devices as their technology review teams evaluate new Medtronic products. The company has declined to sell new and improved products at lower prices while it waits for hospitals to make their decisions, Ishrak said in an interview.
'Actually is a positive sign'
"It actually is a positive sign in many ways," he said of the slowdown, adding that Medtronic's pipeline of new cardiac rhythm devices, many of which show a clear benefit in reducing overall costs, foreshadow a quick bounce-back.
Overall, Medtronic's cardiac and vascular group had worldwide sales in the quarter of $2.160 billion, up 2 percent and 4 percent when accounting for currency differences. Group international sales of $1.234 billion increased 6 percent.
Medtronic's restorative therapies group, which includes its spine, neuromodulation and surgical technologies businesses, had worldwide sales of $1.554 billion, up 2 percent. The diabetes group reported revenue of $369 million, up 1 percent over the same quarter a year ago.
Medtronic officials said that its revenue and earnings guidance for fiscal year 2014 was unchanged. The company expects full-year revenue growth in the range of 3 to 4 percent on a constant-currency basis. Earnings per share are expected to be in the range of $3.80 to $3.85 — 6 percent to 8 percent growth, after adjustments.