Guidant Lowers Guidance

Guidant ( GDT) shares slipped Thursday after the medical devices company reported record second-quarter revenue but lowered future guidance as part of a third-quarter restructuring related to its slumping stent business.

The Indianapolis-base company reported net income on continuing operations of $136 million, or 42 cents a share, vs. a year-ago loss of $82 million, or 27 cents a share. Adjusted income was $185 million, or 58 cents a share, vs. $192 million, or 62 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Net income for the second quarter was $127 million vs. a loss of $97 million in the second quarter of 2003. The second quarter includes tax adjustments for R&D costs on a drug eluting stent worth 16 cents a share, while the second quarter of 2003 carried an 89-cent a share adjustment related to a legal settlement.

Revenue rose slightly to $938.8 million compared with $926.6 million a year ago.

Analysts were expecting the company to earn $186.1 million, or 58 cents a share, on revenue of $941.5 million.

"The company's financial performance was impacted by erosion in the coronary stent business due to increased acceptance of drug eluting stents and intensified competitive pressures in Japan, where the company experienced a 60% decline in stent revenue vs. the prior year, Guidant said in a statement.

Guidant is trying to join Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ ) and Boston Scientific ( BSX ) in the lucrative drug eluting stent market. (Boston Scientific, however, recently suffered a setback when it expanded a recall of its Taxus stents.)

In outlining its third-quarter plans, the company said it will record a pretax restructuring charge of $50 million to $70 million, "which includes severance and benefits packages for affected employees, contract termination costs and other related costs."

Guidant also outlined extensive forward guidance. For the third quarter, it expects revenue of $890 million to $930 million and EPS of 58 cents to 62 cents. For the full year, it forecast revenue of $3.65 billion to $3.75 billion and EPS of $2.40 to $2.45. The company will take a third-quarter restructuring charge of 10 cents to 14 cents a share.

"As to the future outlook, during 2004 and 2005, declines in coronary stent sales are projected to be offset by growth in revenue from the remainder of Guidant's product portfolio," the company said.

When it released first-quarter results, the company forecast full-year revenue in the range of $3.75 billion to $3.95 billion and EPS of $2.40 to $2.55.

The consensus forecasts are for revenue of 947.8 million and EPS of 61 cents in the third quarter and revenue of $3.78 billion and EPS of $2.40 for all of 2004.

In the second quarter, worldwide sales of implantable defibrillators rose 21% to $456 million, while pacemaker revenue climbed 7% $183 million. Stent revenue, however, plunged 46% to $120 million.

Guidant barely beat Wall Street's consensus opinion in the first quarter. Excluding items, it earned $178 million, or 56 cents a share, on revenue of $934 million. According to Thomson First Call, the consensus prediction was earnings of $175.5 million, or 55 cents a share, on sales of $928.3 million.

Shares fell 16 cents to $51.34 in premarket trading.

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