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As you can see in the release, our results this quarter include a number of non-recurring items and other non-GAAP adjustments. In an effort to provide clarity from the distortion of some of these items, our comments on this call will focus on results including certain adjustments which are noted on the non-GAAP reconciliation tables contained in the release. You’ll note that our earnings guidance is also on an adjusted basis.With that, I’d now like to turn the call over to Chairman and CEO, Bret Wise. Bret? Bret Wise Thank you, Derek, and good morning everyone. Thank you for joining us here on our year-end call. We’re very pleased this morning to report record sales and adjusted earnings for 2011. I think as we look back on 2011, there were four major themes for us. When we entered the year, 2011 was very much a story about new product introductions and innovation, and on that level we performed very well – in fact above our expectations, particularly in endodontics, preventatives and restoratives. On March 11, of course, we were faced with another situation with the crisis in Japan and a loss of supply to about 9% of our business. We’ve managed through that this year, facing the supply shortage essentially throughout the year, and we’re hoping to get back to full supply by midyear this year. The third item, of course, was the opportunity to acquire Astra Tech, which we viewed as a significant opportunity to grow our business. Astra Tech added over $150 million in sales for the quarter and over $200 million in sales for the four months under our ownership. We’re very pleased with the performance of both the implant and the healthcare businesses for this early period of our ownership and have great expectations for this transaction.
The fourth theme, of course, was economic activity where we saw a gradual strengthening in the U.S. economy and frankly the U.S. dental market throughout the year, and we saw a sequential weakening of the European economy throughout the year which culminated in a contraction for that economy in the fourth quarter.With this backdrop, we’re very pleased to report that sales for the full year were 2.54 billion. That’s an increase of 14.3% for the full year, including precious metals, and 14.8% excluding precious metal content. From a market perspective overall, we’re very encouraged by the progression of the dental market in the fourth quarter and our own sales growth. In total for the quarter, sales grew 29.9% with metal and 30.0% excluding precious metal content. The growth number ex-PM breaks down with internal growth in total declining 1.2%, acquisitions added 30.4%, and translation was a positive 0.8%. Internal growth, excluding orthodontics in Japan, was a positive 3.9%. That’s consistent with the trend that we saw all year. In fact, our internal growth for the full year, excluding orthodontics in Japan, was also 3.9%. Geographic internal growth – and I’ll give this first to you in total with orthodontics in Japan, and then subsequently without those two factors. So first in total, growth ex-PM was a positive 0.7 in the U.S. – this is internal growth – 0.7 in the U.S. It was negative 1.9% for Europe and it was negative 2.2% for the rest of the world. Of course, orthodontics in Japan are significantly influencing these results, so without orthodontics in Japan, internal growth ex-PM was a positive 7.6% in the U.S., which is a material improvement compared to really any measure that we’ve seen in the last five years. Internal growth in Europe ex-ortho was a positive 2.8%. That’s not bad considering the environment in Europe. Rest of the world was a positive 1.0%.
On geographic growth, in the U.S. we saw really strong growth across all of our business units, essentially all the business units except of course orthodontics, improving sequentially and year-over-year. Although these results are strong and our data suggests that the retail sales of our products were at least in line with this growth, and perhaps were stronger because we think we probably reduced dealer inventories modestly during the quarter. Our new products continue to gain traction and are driving growth well above market in the United States now, and we expect that to continue as we move into 2012.Europe’s internal growth, again, was 2.8% excluding orthodontics, and that was driven by new product introductions, and we’re also very pleased with this performance although I’d say we continue to be concerned about the market in Europe and the economic and the political uncertainty in that region. All that said, our results continue to be positive, driven again by new product innovations and growth well above the market in Europe. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com