Stryker focuses on expanding foreign sales

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Medical device company Stryker (NYSE:SYK) will put a renewed focus on efforts to boost sales in markets outside of the U.S., president & CEO Kevin Lobo told an audience at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco Wednesday.

Those efforts include an overhaul of Stryker’s European business and a growing push in emerging markets, Lobo said.

The company got some Wall Street love Wednesday upon releasing its preliminary full year results, predicting per-share earnings of about $4.05-$4.07 on sales of $8.7 billion, a 4.2% increase in revenues over 2011.

Stryker also projected 2013 adjusted EPS in the range of $4.25-$4.40, expecting to take a $100 million hit due to the impact of the medical device tax that took effect at the start of the year.

The news sent SYK shares up 2.5% on the day, along the way hitting a new 52-week high of $58.74 before closing at $58.48.

Part of the company’s ongoing strategy involves boosting its non-U.S. sales, Lobo said today.

"Globalization’s an enormous opportunity for Stryker, we clearly have room to grow outside the U.S.," he told meeting attendees. "The U.S. is still representative of 65% of our total sales. That is a ratio that hasn’t changed in about 10 years."

Stryker is working on turning around its European business and has made management and structural changes in hopes of seeing bigger returns there. It may take a few quarters before those moves pay off, Lobo noted, but Europe is a "key plank" of the company’s globalization efforts.

The device maker also hopes to make a bigger splash in emerging markets, which currently represent about 6% of Stryker’s sales. Among the emerging markets where Stryker has a footprint the company has seen about 20% growth, but the base is "clearly under-developed versus the competition in the industry at large," Lobo said.

In addition to boosting its non-U.S. efforts, Stryker is also in the midst of 5-year plan to improve its streamline operations, Lobo noted. The company is aiming at $500 million in savings and a 3-5% reduction in product and supply chain costs, hoping to bulk up its operating margins.

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