The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based surgical robot maker posted $143.5 million in profit during the 3 months ended March 31, a 37.9% boost from earnings of $104.1 million during the same period last year. The company’s $3.50 earned per diluted share, a 35.1% surge from $2.59 per share in Q1 2011, beat The Street’s $3.15 forecast by 10%.
The company’s coffers rose on strong growth in systems and procedure sales during the 1st quarter. Intuitive raked in $495.2 million in sales in Q1, up 27.6% from $388.1 million in revenues during Q1 2011.
Based on its stellar performance, Intuitive Surgical bumped its 2012 sales guidance from growth of 17-19% to 19-21%. The company also predicted that procedures will grow by 25-27% this year, an increase from prior forecasts of 24-26%.
General surgery and gynecology procedures experienced 29% year-over-year growth in Q1 and colorectal procedures in Q1 experienced the biggest uptick yet.
Urology procedures were flat compared to last year, and European systems sales were "somewhat disappointing," CEO Gary Guthart told investors during the company’s conference call.
"It’s clear there are economic pressures in Europe having nothing to do with us, and so I think – and those things are going to exist," Guthart said. "I think there are some things we can do to strengthen our capabilities in Europe. And they tend to be around things like economic support, health technology assessments, marketing, those kinds of market access and structural issues, more than they are a sales process type."
"How quickly we can add some capabilities and make some changes, that’s going to be hard for us to forecast," he added.
Last week ISRG shares hit a new all-time high of $554.13 apiece, a historical peak and the latest in a string of 52-week highs that’s drawn bullish reviews on The Street. The company blew that record out of the water, with shares soaring 9% to $594.08 as of about 10:45 a.m. today.
Intuitive Surgical continues to ride high on ever-increasing sales, but not all is well in paradise. A pair of product liability lawsuits implicating the da Vinci surgical robot in deaths from injuries sustained during hysterectomies has yet to make a huge impact on Wall Street, but may but pressure on ISRG shares moving forward.