The Courier-Mail

Cochlear shares the pain on profit


COCHLEAR shares have posted their biggest plunge in more than two years after its fiscal 2015 net profit missed analysts’ expectatio­ns, despite a lower Australian dollar buoying sales revenues.

The global biotech posted a net profit of $145.8 million for the year to June 30, representi­ng an increase of 56 per cent on the prior year.

But the figure fell short of analysts’ expectatio­ns, with an average forecast of $156.9 million and one even as high as $160.8 million.

The group’s profit projection­s for the coming year also fell short of estimates, with the company targeting an aftertax net profit of up to $175 million against analyst forecasts of $180 million.

Cochlear shares closed down 7.2 per cent at $83.56, wiping about $350 million from its market capitalisa­tion.

The stock had dropped 14 per cent to $76.73 in early trade, its biggest intraday fall since June 2013.

However, it wasn’t all bad news. Cochlear’s sales revenue slightly beat expectatio­ns, lifting 15 per cent to $941.9 million. The average analyst forecast was for an increase of 14 per cent to $937 million.

Sales were buoyed by a lower Australian dollar, which benefited foreign sales by $32.7 million when translated into the local currency.

The firm’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciati­on and amortisati­on rose to $236.7 million, against an analyst expectatio­n of $247 million.

In his final report to Cochlear shareholde­rs before he leaves after more than a decade at the helm, chief executive Chris Roberts said the company’s implant unit growth was stronger in devel- oped countries, with 7 per cent growth in western Europe and 15 per cent in North America, but was offset by weaker tender sales in developing countries.

Dr Roberts said Cochlear had a successful year as it continued to roll out new products and expand in different markets, including online.

Customer reaction to its products – including the wireless devices it began rolling out in February – had been very positive, he said.

The rollout and upgrades to other products would help drive sales in 2016.

The new wireless devices allow people with hearing difficulty to stream a high-quality digital sound from a phone, bluetooth device, mini-microphone or television directly to a sound processor.

“This is truly a game-changer in terms of the ease of use and the quality of sound for very, very difficult listening environmen­ts,” Dr Roberts said.

He will be replaced by Chris Smith, who takes the role next month.

Cochlear said it would pay a final fully franked dividend of $1, bringing the year’s total distributi­on to $1.90, down 25 per cent on the year before. THE AUSTRALIAN

 ??  ?? BIG HELP: Caroline Hufnagl’s son has a Cochlear implant.
BIG HELP: Caroline Hufnagl’s son has a Cochlear implant.

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