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St. Jude beats first-quarter estimates, but stock drops

  • Article by: Steve Alexander
  • Star Tribune
  • April 16, 2014 - 9:21 PM

St. Jude Medical Inc. beat first-quarter earnings estimates by a penny a share Wednesday, but its stock price fell nearly 2 percent because of a competitor’s news.

St. Jude investors sold shares on worries about a new threat posed by Boston Scientific Corp., which received government approval, announced late Tuesday, for a new generation of defibrillators and heart failure devices.

Tao Levy, an analyst with Wedbush Securities in New York, said the concerns were overblown because Boston Scientific’s new products aren’t likely to be in the market for at least another year. “It’s theoretical new competition,” Levy said.

Boston Scientific still must gain Food and Drug Administration approval for the electrical wires, or leads, that connect its device to the heart, a process which could take another one to two years, Levy said.

The products of both companies provide electrical shocks to the heart in the case of heart failure, when the two chambers of the heart called ventricles don’t contract in a synchronized way, or ventricular fibrillation, when the ventricles quiver rather than contract correctly.

St. Jude shares closed down $1.18 at $62.04 on a day when the broader market saw gains.

The company reported first-quarter net earnings of $249 million, or 86 cents a share. Its adjusted earnings, which account for one-time charges and gains, amounted to 96 cents a share, up 4 percent from a year ago.

Currency fluctuations hurt

Revenue rose 1.9 percent to $1.36 billion, which was in line with analysts’ expectations. Unfavorable foreign currency translation reduced sales by about $25 million, the company said. Without the currency fluctuations, sales would have increased 4 percent.

CEO Daniel Starks said it was “a solid first quarter” that met or exceeded company expectations in each of its business areas.

“These results reinforce our confidence that we are on track to accelerate sales growth as our product mix shifts to faster-growing markets and as we continue to launch new products that improve patient outcomes, ensure the highest quality and lower the costs of treating expensive epidemic diseases,” Starks said in a statement.

The company also issued earnings and revenue guidance for the second quarter and the year that were in line with analysts’ expectations.

In the second quarter, the firm expects adjusted earnings of 99 cents to $1.01 a share on revenue of $1.38 billion to $1.46 billion. Wall Street has been expecting earnings of $1 per share on revenue of $1.44 billion.

For the year, the company expects adjusted earnings of $3.95 to $4 a share on revenue of $5.61 billion to $5.76 billion. Wall Street has been expecting earnings of $3.98 on revenue of $5.69 billion.

Steve Alexander • 612-673-4553

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