AtriCure's Q4 sales rise, losses narrow

February 22, 2010 by MedCity News

AtriCure Inc. posts higher sales and lower losses during the fourth quarter.

By Mary Vanac

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WEST CHESTER, Ohio — Despite several challenges in 2009 — like a Dept. of Justice investigation and related whistleblower lawsuit — AtriCure Inc. (NSDQ:ATRC) advanced toward profitability, added regulator approvals for its cardiac surgical ablation systems and developed new avenues of growth.

The company that makes devices to scar the heart to disrupt bad electrical signals, among other uses, lost $2.4 million, or 16 cents per diluted share, during the fourth quarter. That was an improvement from a loss of $3.2 million, or 22 cents per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter.

For the year, AtriCure lost $16.5 million, or $1.13 per diluted share, compared with a loss of $10.2 million, or 72 cents per diluted share, in 2008. Omitting one-time charges — like the $3.8 million settlement of Justice Dept. allegations over the company’s marketing practices — AtriCure had adjusted operating income of $1.6 million for the year, a $7.2 million improvement from 2008.

Gross profit was $41.8 million and gross profit margin was 76.6 percent in 2009, about the same as a gross margin of 76.1 percent in 2008, the company said.

Revenue for the fourth quarter was $13.8 million, up 14 percent from $12.1 million a year ago, mostly because of growing European sales. For 2009, AtriCure had revenue of $54.5 million, down 1 percent from $55.3 million in 2008.

Earlier this month, AtriCure agreed to pay the federal government $3.76 million to settle claims and a related lawsuit that the company promoted its surgical cardiac ablation devices for unapproved uses; namely, the treatment of atrial fibrillation, which is an abnormally fast heart rhythm. The company set aside the expected settlement amount in November.