Edwards Lifesciences posts Q4, 2012 gains, confirms guidance

Edwards Lifesciences

Edwards Lifesciences (NYSE:EW) handily beat Wall Street’s expectations for its 4th-quarter and 2012 profits and confirmed its outlook for 2013 today after the market’s close.

The Irvine, Calif.-based medical device company reported profits of $91.1 million, or 77¢ per share, on sales of $510.5 million for the 3 months ended Dec. 31, 2012, for a bottom-line gain of 44.4% and top-line growth of 18.7% compared with Q4 2011.

Adjusted to exclude 1-time items, earnings per share reached 90¢, well above the 77¢ expected on The Street.

For the full year, Edwards recorded profits of $293.2 million, or $2.48 per share, on sales of $1.90 billion, for a bottom-line gain of 23.9% and top-line growth of 13.2% compared with 2011. Adjusted EPS were $2.69, again besting the boffins on The Street, who were looking for adjusted EPS of $2.55.

"Our fourth quarter capped a year of significant progress as we introduced our innovative Sapien technology to the U.S.," chairman & CEO Michael Mussallem said in prepared remarks. "We are very proud that more than 5,000 patients in the U.S. have been treated with our transcatheter valves since launch, and we are aggressively investing to expand the availability of this important therapy. In spite of a difficult economic environment, underlying sales were up 16% in 2012 driven by a strong finish in each of our product lines."

Mussallem said Edwards still expects to post growth rates between 30% and 45% for its transcatheter valve sales this year, for global sales of $710 million to $790 million and U.S. sales of $390 million to $440 million.

"We continue to expect full year sales of $2.1 billion to $2.2 billion and earnings per diluted share, excluding special items, of $3.21 to $3.31," he said. "For the 1st quarter 2013, we project total sales of $505 million to $530 million and diluted earnings per share, excluding the 7¢ benefit from the 2012 R&D tax credit and any other special items, between 74¢ and 78¢."

EW shares closed at $93.06 today, down 0.4% on the day.

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