UPDATE 1-Thoratec shares hit year-low on weak outlook, results

Fri Jan 28, 2011 11:43am EST

(Adds analyst comments, updates share movement)

Jan 28 (Reuters) - Shares of Thoratec Corp (THOR.O) fell 14 percent to a new year-low on Friday, a day after the cardiac-device maker posted disappointing quarterly results and forecast a weak 2011, prompting at least two brokerages to downgrade its stock.

"Guidance implies significantly less growth in Destination Therapy than will be required to sustain a high growth rate," said Robert W Baird analyst Lawrence Neibor, downgrading the stock to "neutral" from "outperform.

Neibor cut his price target on the stock to $28 from $45.

On Thursday, the Pleasanton, California-based company said it expected sales of its heart pump to grow 10-15 percent in 2011, while other product categories to fall 10 percent. [ID:nSGE70Q0EQ]

The company's heart pump is implanted in patients awaiting a transplant (Bridge To Transplant) and those who are not eligible for a cardiac transplant (Destination Therapy).

"Heartware International Inc (HTWR.O) will capture share once it receives approval (likely in late 2011/early 2012), which will pressure Thoratec's growth in 2012 despite 30 percent growth in the DT segment, " said Raymond James analyst Jayson Bedford, who cut his rating on the stock to "market perform" from "outperform."

HeartWare has filed an application with U.S. health regulators for marketing approval of its own heart pump in the bridge-to-transplant indication.

Analysts see a new generation of heart pumps from Thoratec "several years away."[ID:nSGE70B13A]

Shares of the company, which have lost about a quarter of their value since Thoratec reported third-quarter results in late October, fell 14 percent to touch a low of $22.50 on Friday on Nasdaq. (Reporting by Vidya L Nathan in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier, Vyas Mohan)

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