Stryker pledges to fix its Europe problem

September 7, 2012 by MassDevice staff

Medical device company Stryker Corp. acknowledges that its performance in recession-savaged Europe is a problem, but that has less to do with the economy than you think.

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Stryker (NYSE:SYK) has brushed off economic troubles in the U.S. for several quarters, but it has a European crisis of its own to deal with, company officials reiterated yesterday during the medical device company's annual analyst day in Mahwah, N.J.

Ramesh Subrahmanian, the company's international group president, said Stryker's troubles in Europe go beyond the weak economy there, vowing to work hard to improve the company's performance across the pond.

"I want to clearly acknowledge that Stryker has a significant challenge and we have lagged the European market situation for sure," Subrahmanian said.

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Stryker derived about 37% of its roughly $8 billion in sales in 2011 from international markets, from strong positions in Japan, Australia, Canada and parts of Western Europe.

But the bulk of the company's sales come from inside the U.S., higher than its peers in the med-tech space which derive about 58% of their sales from international markets.

"Clearly, we are under-represented in international markets," Subrahmanian said.

A year into his tenure as the Kalamazoo, Mich.-based company's international business leader, he said he's looking to emerging markets such as China, India, Russia and Turkey as long-term growth drivers of for Stryker.

First up, however is a push to improve Stryker's lagging performance in the European Union.

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