Varian Medical Systems, Inc. (VAR)

Bank of America Merrill Lynch Health Care Conference Call

May 15, 2012 04:00 pm ET


Elisha W. Finney – Corporate Executive Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer

Spencer R. Sias – Vice President, Corporate Communications and Investor Relations



Unidentified Analyst

[Call Starts Abruptly]

Analyst at B of A. And here with me from Varian, we have Elisha Finney, the CFO, and Spencer Sias, the Head of Investor Relations. Elisha's is going to go ahead and speak for 15 minutes or so, and then we will open it up for Q&A.

Elisha W. Finney

Thank you, [Lenux]. What we thought we would do is just give a brief summary this afternoon and then make sure we leave time to answer any questions that you might have. I will be making some forward-looking statements. Varian's mission is focusing energy on saving lives. And in all three of our business segments, we focus x-ray energy. In Oncology Systems, we focus our energy on tumors, so that we can kill cancer and kill patients. In the X-ray Products Division, we focus energy on better diagnosis, so that you can be diagnosed earlier.

And then finally, in our Security and Inspection Products business, we are focusing energy on inspecting cargo and having safer borders and ports. The mission or the goal of the company is to save an additional 100,000 life each and every year. We treat about over 2 million patients per year, and we are all at the company very dedicated to reaching this goal.

We have three reportable segments. Last year, we had orders of right at $3 billion. Oncology Systems, just over $2 billion, represents about 75% of the company, X-ray Products $0.5 billion at about 15%, with the remainder coming in our other category, which includes our Security and Inspection Products business, our Proton Therapy business, and our central research facility, which is the Ginzton Technology Center.

Moving into Oncology Systems, which is obviously the largest part of the company, about two-thirds of all patients today receive radiation therapy as part of their course of a cancer treatment. We have been focused on becoming the technology leader and we are today a one stop shop for all radiation therapy needs, including all of the hardware, all of the software, the service, and all of the accessories that go along with that.

The name of the game in radiation therapy is deliver as much dose or radiation as you can to the tumor, so that you can kill the cancer cells, while at the same time minimizing the radiation to healthy tissue, so that you can avoid complication. And we are the technology leader in this. This business is growing. The oncology total business is growing in the high single-digits with mid single-digit growth in the U.S. along with mid-teens growth in the international markets, as well as low-to-mid teens in our service business. And what's driving this growth are several initiatives. Really, there's a three-legged stool to oncology.

The first is driving a replacement market. The second is, moving into emerging markets, where there’s an absolute need for equipment. Third, is the service business, which I'll come back and touch on. And then we just added a fourth leg to this stool with last month announcing a partnership that we have now with Siemens Corporation. The replacement market, we have about 6,800 installed base of machines. And those machines are getting a little long in the tooth, particularly in the U.S. where we have approximately 3,500 machines. And we estimate that the average age today is somewhere over 10 years or older.

And what’s going to drive that replacement cycle is new technology. And this is a picture of our TrueBeam machine that rolled out about two year ago. And again, what we are focused on is giving the best quality treatment at the lowest possible cost for treatment. So this is looking at precision, putting the dose exactly where it needs to be, looking at patient throughput, getting treatment done in as little as 10 to 15 minutes that use to take 30 to 45 minutes, and a lot of work around workflow and usability and making our equipment easy to use.

The equipping of emerging markets I'm going to come back to, we’ll show you a few statistics. But suffice it to say, if we were to bring the international markets not even to the full U.S. standard, we would need 10,000 machines around the globe, so a lot of growth opportunity outside of North America. Our service business is growing in the low to mid teens. As the machines become more complex, it’s more difficult for the hospital to service their won equipment. So we get a higher capture rate of the service contracts.

And as the installed base grows, again, we're getting more service contracts at a very high margin. This is about a 50% margin product line. And we are offering additional services to our customers as well, expanding clinical applications, and this is again being able to provide any and every form of radiation therapy for the patient that walks through the door, whether it's traditional radiation therapy that takes 30 to 40 treatment sessions, or whether it's stereotactic radiosurgery, which can get a treatment done in as little as one to five sessions. We’ve gotten very good at certain cancers on turning them into chronic manageable diseases, but there are unfortunately other cancers where just little progress has been done. We're very focused today on managing motions and not only treating the tumor but treating it real time as it moves. And that’s going to make we think significant progress in lung, liver, and pancreas, which is the next area of real focus for us.

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