Medical device maker Boston Scientific ended 2018 just short of the symbolic $10 billion mark for revenue, as the company held on to sales in slower-growing fields while charging hard into fast-growing niches.
The Massachusetts-based device company, which has major operations for heart and vascular device divisions in Minnesota, said Tuesday it took in a record $9.82 billion in revenue during 2018, meeting Wall Street expectations for 8 percent operational sales growth during the year.
Looking at the fourth-quarter, overall revenue grew about 8 percent to $2.56 billion. The fastest growth came in the medical-surgical division, where sales of medical scopes and urology products grew 9 percent. Sales of vascular products grew 8.7 percent, and sales of heart-rhythm and neuromodulation devices grew 6.7 percent. Those percentages are all operational growth, which corrects for the effects of international currency fluctuations.
The revenue disclosure came without corresponding earnings figures and was delivered by Chief Executive Mike Mahoney during the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco.
“In 2018, most of our businesses grew faster than their peer markets,” Mahoney told the crowd. (Boston Scientific is scheduled to conduct its fourth-quarter and full-year 2018 earnings call Feb. 6.)
Mahoney said Tuesday that he was particularly happy about the revenue growth in Europe during 2018, since results there with newer products tend to foreshadow results for the same product lines in markets like the U.S. and Japan.
In 2018, Boston Scientific had nearly $2.2 billion in revenue in its European and Middle Eastern sales region, representing 9 percent growth after accounting for currency fluctuations.
“Europe is usually the gateway to our future in terms of our portfolio,” Mahoney said, “so it’s encouraging for us to see this strong growth.”
Boston Scientific has worked hard to expand from a heart-rhythm and vascular device company to a diversified maker of products like neurostimulators for chronic pain, scopes to peer deeply into the body and minimally invasive devices that use flexible wire to alter the physical structure of the heart.
Overall, about 20 percent of the 2018 revenue came from what Boston Scientific considers “high growth” markets like neuromodulation, endoscopy, structural heart devices, and vascular devices for the legs.
In 2013, only 10 percent of the company’s sales were in high growth markets. Mahoney’s goal is to increase that proportion to 35 percent by 2021.