Although sales sagged for another straight quarter, earnings widened to $4.6 million, or 12¢ per diluted share, in the 3 months ended March 31. That’s a 27% boost from earnings of $3.6 million, or 9¢ per share, during the same time last year.
Adjusted for 1-time expenses, earnings came to 22¢ per share, double the 11¢ analysts expected Wright Medical to report.
The news sent WMGI shares up 8.4% to $20.31 as of about 1:30 p.m. today.
"We delivered a solid start to 2012 with our 1st quarter results," president & CEO Robert Palmisano said in prepared remarks. "Notably, our foot and ankle net sales grew 11% globally and 9% in the U.S. during the 1st quarter, driven by our focused initiatives, recent new product launches, increased medical education programs and increasingly strong performance in our international business."
Sales decreased 6.5% to $126.7 million during the quarter, compared ith $135.4 million during the same period last year. The Arlington, Tenn.-based orthopedic devices maker attributed the slump to previously announced distributor transitions.
"In our U.S. foot and ankle business, the conversion of a major portion of our independent distributor territories to direct sales representation is proceeding well and according to our plans," Palmisano said. "We believe that this increase in U.S. direct foot and ankle sales representation, coupled with our focused initiatives, large and growing product portfolio and increased investment in medical education, will enable us to improve our growth rates in foot and ankle throughout 2012 and exit the year at well above market growth rates."
Wright Medical maintained its 2012 sales projections between $472-$489 million, with adjusted earnings in the range of 26¢-36¢ per diluted share.