California medical device maker Intuitive Surgical (NSDQ:ISRG) managed to tromp analysts’ expectations during its 3rd quarter, even as the company wrangles with the public relations nightmare growing out of a series of patient injury lawsuits.
Intuitive beat Wall Street’s expectations by a whopping 59¢ per diluted share, even as Q3 sales dropped 7.2% and profits dropped 14.5%.
The device maker reported earnings of $156 million, or $3.99 per share, on sales of $499 million for the 3 months ended September 30. That compared with earnings of $183.3 million, or $4.46 per share, on sales of $537.8 million during the same period last year.
Analysts had estimated that Intuitive would post earnings of $3.40 for the quarter, nearly 15% lower than the actual turnout.
Intuitive Surgical has been a roller coaster in recent months, facing harsh criticism from analysts and media while facing a raft of patient injury lawsuits accusing the company of pushing surgeons on the company’s flagship da Vinci robot-assisted surgical system before they were properly trained.
The company still has some friends on Wall Street, with analysts at William Blair this month defending the company as a solid long-term investment, but others have been less kind.
Intuitive Surgical’s share price lost 25.3% this year as the company struggled with a series of studies finding robotic surgery equally safe and effective but more expensive than laparoscopy. Investors, who sent ISRG shares to an all-time high of $585.82 apiece in April 2012, have carved some 36.6% from the stock since then.
The device maker has also been publicly battling analysts at Citron Group, which has this year published a series of harsh criticisms of Intuitive’s track record at the FDA. Citron in January 2013 published all of the FDA’s da Vinci adverse event filings, comprising 12 years’ worth of reporting. Earlier this month Citron released another report, accusing Intuitive Surgical of ignoring a surge of new incidents that have cropped up in the FDA’s system.
Intuitive’s latest earnings report did little to stir investors today, with ISRG shares down 0.6% to $399.13 as of about 4:15 p.m.