ZURICH (Reuters) - The world's largest dental implant maker, Straumann, will cut the price of its standard titanium implants by around 15 percent next year in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, the firm's chief executive told a Swiss newspaper on Sunday.
The Swiss company said its price gap with rivals must be reduced, and that it may adjust prices in other parts of Europe at a later date.
Premium implant makers like Straumann and local rival Nobel Biocare have been hit by weak consumer confidence in Europe, as cash-strapped consumers cut back on non-essential dental treatment or trade down to cheaper brands.
"If we don't adapt prices to the market situation, then in a few years we'll be selling a third less in price-sensitive markets such as Germany than we do today," Chief Executive Marco Gadola told the NZZ am Sonntag.
The Basel-based firm wants to become a global leader in the value segment of the market, which is growing at a faster pace than the premium segment.
Straumann also plans to offer its new Roxolid implants at the same prices as models it is phasing out to try to create better value and a competitive edge.
The Roxolid implants are made from an alloy of titanium and zirconium that is stronger than the titanium used on its own in older models.
In October, the Straumann raised its full-year sales forecast, expecting a better performance in North America and Japan to offset weak sales in Europe, where it makes more than half of its revenues.
(Reporting by Alice Baghdjian; Editing by Erica Billingham)