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Medical-device maker

Edwards Lifesciences


pushed past analysts' earnings expectations in the fourth quarter but posted disappointing sales.

Edwards earned $38.6 million, or 61 cents a share, compared with a profit of $25.9 million, or 42 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding certain charges, the company earned 53 cents a share, 2 cents ahead of the average forecast of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

Fourth-quarter sales were up 5.3% from the year-ago quarter to $249.7 million. Analysts were expecting sales of nearly $253 million. Revenue from its heart-valve devices totaled $114 million, up 8.6%, while sales of critical-care devices like catheters and blood-filtration instruments climbed 6.2% to $84.5 million.

Edwards saw a decline, however, in sales of cardiac-surgery products, which slipped to $25.8 million from $26.8 million. Shares of Edwards fell 1.2% to $42.81 in after-hours trading Thursday.

For 2006, the company expects to generate sales of $1.02 billion to $1.06 billion and deliver non-GAAP earnings growth of 12% to 15%. Edwards said it agreed with analysts' first-quarter profit estimates of 54 cents a share, and the company raised its full-year estimate by 2 cents to between $2.16 and $2.26, not including a charge of 24 cents for stock-options expensing.

"Based on the strong and sustainable performance of our market-leading core franchises, as well as the expected contribution from our new products, we believe Edwards is ideally positioned for continued growth and profitability in 2006," said Michael Mussallem, Edwards Lifesciences' chairman and CEO.