Shares in Medtronic PLC sank sharply Tuesday despite gains in the broader stock market, as the Minnesota-run medical device maker reported weaker-than-expected quarterly sales that may continue through April. The company also trimmed its fiscal year profit outlook.
The maker of advanced medical technology and surgical supplies saw U.S. sales of pacemakers and implantable defibrillators decline, when increases were expected by stock analysts.
Sales of insulin pumps slumped amid confusion over product approvals, and revenue from heart valves and drug-eluting stents lagged as Medtronic hurried to get its next products onto the U.S. market.
"We're not happy about the revenue performance this quarter," Medtronic Chief Executive Omar Ishrak said in a conference call with investors Tuesday. "We do think the reasons for the shortfall are identifiable and in most cases temporary. We expect our new product introductions, primarily, to drive a recovery in the back half of the year."
Investors were not happy either. On a day in which the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 19,000 for the first time, Medtronic shares sank 9 percent, to $73.60.
Following Tuesday's news, analysts with CFRA Research trimmed their 12-month Medtronic target stock price and earnings projections. But the firm still rates Medtronic stock as a "Buy," based on a belief that the company's long-term product launches will overcome short-term revenue issues.
"Although we believe these issues may impact sales next quarter, we believe MDT's broad product portfolio and geographic reach will continue to drive consistent sales growth," CFRA analyst Jeffrey Loo wrote in an investors note.
For the three months ended Oct. 28, Medtronic reported sales of $7.35 billion, which represented currency-adjusted growth of just 3 percent compared to the same quarter last year.
Analysts had been expecting growth of almost 6 percent.
In the diabetes division, the quicker-than-expected Food and Drug Administration approval of the next-generation MiniMed 670G insulin pump in September actually had a negative impact on revenue growth. That was because the next-most-recent pump on the U.S. market, the MiniMed 630G, was approved just two months earlier than the 670G.
"The earlier-than-expected approval has created a bigger-than-expected gap between product approval and shipment," Ishrak said.
He noted that the full launch of the 670G is expected next spring, and that the company has launched a program for early-adopting patients who want to use the 630G now and then get priority access to the 670G when it's launched.
U.S. revenue in the diabetes group dropped by 3 percent, to $272 million, in the just-ended quarter. The currency-adjusted growth in emerging and developed markets outside the U.S. didn't make up for the U.S. shortfall. Ishrak predicted diabetes sales will return to double-digit growth after the launch of the 670G next year.
In the coronary and structural heart group, where U.S. sales fell 11 percent to $289 million in the quarter, Medtronic only recently got FDA permission to sell a sought-after larger size of its transcatheter aortic valve, the Evolut R. Medtronic is also projecting U.S. sales of its new Resolute Onyx drug-eluting stent by next spring, to compete with recent next-generation drug-eluting stents from other companies.
Overall, the company reported $1.56 billion in adjusted net income on sales of its pacemakers, vascular stents and surgical supplies, which was growth of 6 percent. Adjusted diluted earnings per share came in at $1.12, which was 1 cent above the Wall Street forecast.
Yet in response to questions from analysts Tuesday, Ishrak ended the call with statements reinforcing executives' confidence in Medtronic's long-term performance. Tuesday's results happened because of several temporary trends that hit the company's growth drivers at the time, he said.
"We remain confident in our overall strategy that we laid out in our analyst meeting (in June) — mid-single-digit revenue growth, and double-digit EPS growth, on a constant currency basis, not only this fiscal year, but sustaining into the future. And that is something we are certainly not coming off," he said.
Previously, Medtronic had announced an outlook of 5 to 6 percent revenue growth for the fiscal year. Non-GAAP EPS is now projected in a range of $4.55 to $4.60 per share, compared to previous guidance of $4.60 to $4.70 per share.