And the winning streak continues for St. Jude Medical.
The Little Canada-based company reported strong quarterly sales and earnings in what analysts are calling an especially solid year for the medical device firm.
"They have been doing very well in the execution of their strategy, getting things going in the right direction," said Jeff Windau, an analyst with Edward Jones.
Executives echoed this theme, noting the company's stabilizing cardiac rhythm business and improved sales and profits.
"It really is a continuation of the steady improvement we were looking for in 2013," St. Jude executive vice president John Heinmiller said Wednesday. "That was what we had talked about earlier in the year, to reverse that trend and get back to a point where we can have single-digit growth."
Year-to-date, St. Jude's share price has risen 57 percent.
St. Jude reported that its third-quarter net profit rose 8 percent and its third-quarter sales — at $1.388 billion — were up 1 percent compared with the third quarter of 2012. After accounting for the effect of foreign currency differences, sales climbed 3 percent. Adjusted net earnings were $262 million, or 90 cents per share, up from 83 cents a share a year ago.
Sales of cardiac rhythm management devices, which include implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) and pacemakers, were $682 million, showed a 1 percent decrease compared with the third quarter of 2012. But worldwide defibrillator sales were $418 million, a 1 percent increase from a year ago — including a 2 percent increase in U.S. sales. It was another quarter of ICD sales growth after several quarters of declining or flat sales.
Pacemaker sales were $264 million, a 5 percent decrease. Atrial fibrillation product sales were $235 million, a 7 percent increase. Cardiovascular sales were $317 million, a 1 percent increase.
St. Jude officials said they expect fourth-quarter revenue to be in the range of $1.32 billion to $1.395 billion. For the full year 2013, they expect total revenue to be in the range of $5.394 billion to $5.474 billion.
The company said it expects its consolidated adjusted net earnings for the fourth quarter of 2013 to be in the range of 95 to 97 cents per share and for full-year 2013 consolidated adjusted net earnings to now be in the range of $3.72 to $3.74, increasing the lower end of the range by 2 cents and the higher end by a penny.
In notes to investors, a number of analysts Wednesday weighed in with positive views of St. Jude's performance — and prospects.
Tao Levy of Wedbush said St. Jude's pipeline of new products has it "well-positioned for long-term growth."
Joanne Wuensch of BMO Capital Markets Group said St. Jude's results showed "strength across the franchise and with each segment delivering."
And Danielle Antalffy of Leerink Swann Research said of the quarter: "This is clearly another encouraging sales quarter — now its second consecutive sales beat — as [St. Jude] appears to be both regaining ICD market share and continuing to make progress on returning its other businesses to an accelerating growth profile."