In a year of extraordinary events for Medtronic, the medical device maker is looking forward to getting back to basics: rolling out profitable new products in the U.S. and increasing sales in developing countries.
Since the start of Medtronic's fiscal year in May, a weeklong computer glitch affected its ability to fill customer orders; a Category 4 hurricane knocked out four major manufacturing facilities in Puerto Rico; three other hurricanes affected patients and employees in Florida, Houston and Ireland; and deadly wildfires temporarily shut down plants in northern California.
On Tuesday, a better-than-expected earnings report helped convince investors that Medtronic's disruptions are under control and the company is poised to drive sales and reach its full-year growth targets of 4 to 5 percent for revenue and 9 to 10 percent for earnings per share.
"We believe that Medtronic can now start to put the impacts of the hurricanes, its manufacturing constraints, and computer issues experienced earlier in the year behind it and focus itself on its growth initiatives," Edward Jones analyst John Boylan wrote in a note to investors Tuesday. "We think Medtronic is positioned for a strong 2018 calendar year."
The sentiment carried the day on Wall Street, where Medtronic's share price rose 4.8 percent, to $82.66 a share.
Medtronic reported earnings for the three months ended Oct. 27 of $2.02 billion, up from $1.12 billion for the same period a year ago. Adjusted earnings for the multinational maker of medical devices like pacemakers and artificial heart valves beat expectations and were $1.07 a share, compared with analysts' expectations of 99 cents.
"Our second-quarter financial results are very encouraging, when considered in the context of a quarter in which we faced three hurricanes and the California wildfires," Chief Executive Omar Ishrak said in a statement. "Hurricane Maria, in particular, significantly affected our manufacturing operations in Puerto Rico."
The company posted worldwide revenue of $7.05 billion in the just-ended quarter, down 4 percent from a year ago but still well above analysts' consensus estimates.
Medtronic's largest division, the cardiac and vascular products group, grew revenue by 7 percent to $2.8 billion in the quarter, while the minimally invasive therapies group grew 2 percent to nearly $2 billion. The restorative therapies group also grew by 2 percent to $1.9 billion, while diabetes revenue shrank 2 percent to $462 million.
In a premarket conference call with investors Tuesday, Ishrak said he is confident Medtronic can hit its growth targets for the year. He noted that growth in the med-tech industry is driven by new product launches, like the CoreValve Evolut Pro heart valve and the Micra leadless pacemaker, both of which are implanted with thin catheters instead of open-chest surgery.
"This confidence in our growth is really driven by an acceleration in our innovation pipeline, and we feel pretty good about it," Ishrak said.
Ishrak also revealed that the FDA has finally lifted its five-year-old warning letter regarding Medtronic's implantable pain-drug pump, the SynchroMed II. The warning letter and follow-up inspections of manufacturing and complaint handling led to a consent decree between Medtronic and the Justice Department in 2015 that imposed restrictions on when it could be sold. Ishrak said Tuesday that those requirements are now removed.
Nevertheless, analysts with Leerink Partners were somewhat circumspect on Medtronic's growth outlook, noting that the broader med-tech market seems to be growing at about 5 percent today.
"If [Medtronic] can continue to successfully execute on a steady stream of new-product launches, the company should eventually be increasingly well-positioned to drive growth acceleration," Leerink analysts wrote.