NATICK, MA (
) -- It's been a horrific year for
, which was supposed to be positioned for a turnaround but has just dug a deeper hole for itself. Most recently, the Boston Scientific bad press focused on BSX directors who have been busy selling shares. With BSX earnings on deck for after the market close on Tuesday, will investors follow the lead of BSX directors, or will the worst finally pass for the medical device maker?
The Boston Scientific directors were called out in the press for the recent insider action, considering that Boston Scientific shares are at a multi-year low and have slid throughout 2010. Boston Scientific shares were just above $6 on Tuesday morning, after having reached a 52-week low of $5.41 back on June 8. The Boston Scientific directors had personal financial planning reasons for selling, and one of the directors even gave a rare comment on insider activity to the
Wall Street Journal
, acknowledging selling the depressed Boston Scientific shares looked bad.
The more important question, anyway, is whether investors will have any reason to become more bullish about Boston Scientific regardless of the buying and selling of shares in the board room. It might be a little too soon to think that investors will become positive on Boston Scientific shares, but the Street is hoping that Boston Scientific will demonstrate that the market share crisis because of its March defibrillator recall has finally stabilized.
Analysts estimate that Boston Scientific lost 3% market share to competitors during the month-long recall in March. The main competitors are
St. Jude Medical
The defibrillator market is Boston Scientific's largest market, and the recall forced analysts who already thought shares had bottomed at $8 before the March recall to take price targets down even lower, with several analysts arguing $7 to $8 was fair value. Obviously, the BSX shares have slipped even lower, as the entire medical device market has taken a hit with the European market situation worsening in 2010.
Boston Scientific outperformed Street expectations in the first quarter, earning 10 cents a share versus a Street consensus of 8 cents. For the current quarter, the Street is expecting 3 cents earnings from BSX. In the June 2009 quarter, Boston Scientific earned 13 cents a share.
The Street expects $1.9 billion in revenue for the quarter, lower than last year's second quarter revenue of just under $2.1 billion for Boston Scientific.
The moves made by Boston Scientific CEO Ray Elliot, hired last year with a hefty pay package to resurrect the struggling medical technology company, have yet to bear fruit, and it's not likely to be the second quarter earnings during which Elliot's restructuring effort is the earnings highlight. Boston Scientific first needs to show that losses in the defibrillator market have ceased.
At least one analyst who covers Boston Scientific, Frederick Wise at Leerink Swann, says that it looks as if the company could have good forward looking guidance to provide on the defibrillator situation. A just completed Leerink Swann study of defibrillator market share showed that while BSX competitor
St. Jude Medical
picked up some lasting market share during the defibrillator recall, though Medtronic's gains might be short-lived, and Boston Scientific's market share should return to normal by the end of 2010.
The Leerink Swann analyst wrote in a research note on Monday morning, "BSX market share is recovering, now possibly back into the 24-25% range in the June-July time frame and should continue to recover into 2H10 and 2011."
Even if BSX earnings are modest, or even disappoint, its outlook on the defibrillator market might prove more important that what the market already knows has been a recent past to forget for the medical device maker.
-- Written by Eric Rosenbaum from New York.
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