Intuitive Surgical quarterly profit declines again

July 22 Tue Jul 22, 2014 4:29pm EDT

July 22 (Reuters) - Intuitive Surgical Inc on Tuesday reported lower second-quarter profit as sales of its high-priced da Vinci robot surgical systems fell, marking the fifth consecutive quarter of earnings declines for the formerly fast-growing company.

Intuitive posted a net profit of $104 million, or $2.77 per share, compared with a profit of $159.1 million, $3.90 per share, a year ago.

Revenue for the quarter fell 11 percent to $512.2 million but exceeded Wall Street's diminished expectations of $501.7 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company sold 96 da Vinci systems in the quarter, down from 143 a year ago but an improvement over the 87 shipped in the first quarter as Intuitive showed signs of bouncing back from a dismal first three months.

Sunnyvale, California-based Intuitive had enjoyed double-digit revenue growth and steadily rising da Vinci sales in past years.

But those trends reversed last year as media reports questioned the cost effectiveness of using the robots for certain procedures. Also contributing to the reversal: uncertainty about capital spending at hospitals, and physicians holding off on recommending prostate surgery for slower-progressing cancers. (Reporting by Bill Berkrot; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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