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Boston Scientific 4Q Net Down 55% As Cardiac Rhythm Sales Fall

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Boston Scientific Corp.'s (BSX) fourth-quarter earnings fell 55% as the medical-device maker reported lower sales in its key heart rhythm business. Boston Scientific issued an upbeat earnings forecast for the new year. Boston Scientific forecast adjusted earnings of 60 cents to 70 cents a share on revenue of $7.3 billion to $7.7 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had targeted full-year earnings of 46 cents a share on sales of $7.63 billion. For the current quarter, the company projected per-share adjusted earnings of 11 cents to 14 cents on revenue of $1.826 billion to $1.9 billion. Analysts expect 11 cents and $1.9 billion, respectively. Boston Scientific, like its competitors, is dealing with weak procedure growth and pricing pressures on certain devices. The company launched a multiyear restructuring effort in 2010 and has been working to cut costs, reduce employee ranks and change-up product offerings, though it continues to struggle with a tough defibrillator market. Boston Scientific reported a profit of $107 million, or 7 cents a share, down from $236 million, or 15 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding restructuring expenses and other items, earnings fell to 13 cents a share from 20 cents. Revenue decreased 7.7% to $1.85 billion. Excluding currency impacts and sales from divested businesses, revenue was down 5%. The company in October forecast earnings of 13 cents to 16 cents a share on revenue of $1.85 billion and $1.95 billion. Gross margin narrowed to 64.3% from 67%. Sales of cardiac rhythm management products were down 15%. Interventional cardiology sales decreased 7.3% while endoscopy sales increased 7%. Shares closed at $6.09 Wednesday and were inactive premarket. The stock is up 7% in the past three months. -By Nathalie Tadena, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-3287; nathalie.tadena@dowjones.com

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