Smith & Nephew plc (NYSE:SNN) closed out 2009 with a strong fourth quarter that saw the British medical device maker’s sales and profits rise.
The company posted sales of $1.07 billion during the three months ended Dec. 31, 2009, up 11 percent compared with $960 million during the same period in 2008. Profits were $189 million, or 15 cents per share, compared with $179 million, or 13 cents per share, during Q4 2008.
For the full year, Smith & Nephew reported profits of $723 million, or 53 cents per share, on sales of $3.8 billion. That’s a 14.8 percent bump in profits and a 0.8 percent sales slip compared with $630 million in profits, or 43 cents per share, on sales of $3.77 billion in 2008.
Sales for the company’s Andover, Mass.-based endoscopy unit were also up for Q4 2009, rising 11.7 percent to $230 million from $206 million during Q4 2008. For the full year, the unit’s sales were $791 million, down 1.1 percent compared with $800 million in 2008.
Smith & Nephew said its bottom-line improvement last year was due to its efforts to make the business more efficient and cut costs, citing a new plant in China for its advanced wound management business and the consolidation of its British distribution deals and a restructuring of its European orthopedics business. SNN also cited its "investments for the future," including the construction of "medical education facilities" in the U.K., Switzerland and China, more spending on its biologics unit and a focus on emerging markets.
The company’s core orthopedics unit posted Q4 sales of $593 million, up 7.8 percent compared with $550 million during the same period in 2008. Advanced wound management sales were $243 million during the quarter, up 19.1 percent compared with $204 million in Q4 2008.
Full-year orthopedics sales dipped 1.1 percent to $2.14 billion, from $2.16 billion during 2008. Advanced wound management sales were flat last year at $846 million, compared with $843 million in 2008.
Smith & Nephew said it saw signs that its markets were stabilizing during the second half of 2009, adding that it’s maintaining a cautious attitude about the pace of recovery.