Shares in Medtronic PLC rose more than 1 percent Tuesday as the mammoth medical device company reported upbeat preliminary financial results that seemed to validate its motivations for buying surgical supplier Covidien for nearly $50 billion in January.
Medtronic's statement focused chiefly on revenue as a first step for investors to understand the financial effect of the purchase, which resulted in moving the company's legal headquarters from Fridley to Dublin.
Throughout the process of acquiring Covidien, executives and analysts stressed the importance of not letting a complex corporate integration slow down sales.
Medtronic said revenue in its fiscal fourth quarter was $7.3 billion, up 7 percent from the same period a year ago adjusting for currency impact and some $200 million better than analysts had expected.
"Surgical solutions, the crown jewel of the Covidien acquisition, posted a very impressive quarter," with 10 percent growth to $1.3 billion, Wedbush Securities analyst Tao Levy wrote in a note to investors. "Importantly, this result points to little (if any) disruption following the acquisition by Medtronic."
Meanwhile, sales in Medtronic's largest business — cardiac devices and vascular therapies — rose 10 percent to $2.6 billion in the quarter. The company said its adjusted fourth-quarter earnings will come in at the upper end of its previous guidance.
Medtronic still employs at least 9,000 people in Minnesota, and its executives run the company from Fridley. Moving legal headquarters outside the U.S. created tax benefits for Medtronic, but executives said the deal was motivated by a shared mission and a desire to expand their scale.
"These impressive results likely show that scale is important to hospital purchasing in today's health care market — a key reason why Medtronic bought Covidien," BTIG analyst Dr. Sean Lavin wrote to investors Tuesday. However, he noted investors are still seeking more details on the corporate integration process and how quickly Medtronic intends to pay down its debt.
JPMorgan Chase estimated Medtronic's total debt would grow to $36.9 billion this year, more than tripling the $11.9 billion in debt it had a year ago. Tuesday's figures didn't include debt.
For the full year that ended last month, the combined company reported adjusted revenue of $28.2 billion, a 6 percent increase over the prior year. Those figures include prior-year Covidien revenue and remove the impact of nearly $800 million in currency fluctuations.
"As we look ahead to fiscal year 2016, we feel increasingly confident about our business outlook on an operational basis," Gary Ellis, Medtronic's chief financial officer, said.