COPENHAGEN Aug 12 Switzerland's Sonova , the world's top hearing aid maker, is losing market share to Denmark's GN Resound within a U.S. government programme for military veterans, research and brokerage company Bernstein Research said on Tuesday.
Veterans account for about 20 percent of all hearing aid units dispensed in the United States.
Sonova's sales to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) programme were flat year-to-July and in June, its VA market share decreased to 48 percent from 56 percent in June last year, Bernstein's data showed.
"In contrast, GN's VA sales are up 20 percent year-to-date following their Linx launch on May 1st," Bernstein Research analyst Lisa Clive wrote in a note, referring to a GN Resound's aid that also allows users to stream content from iPhones.
She said GN Resound now had a market share of above 10 percent in June, up from 8 percent last year. GN developed the Linx hearing aid with Apple Inc.
Germany's Siemens increased its VA share to 9 percent in June from 7 percent last year. Denmark's William Demant's market share was flat at 8 percent.
William Demant, the second largest maker of the devices in the world, and GN Resound's parent company GN Store Nord , the fourth largest, both report their quarterly results on Thursday. Sonova reports only half-yearly results, the next of which are due in November.
A Sonova spokesman, Michael Edmond Isaac, wrote in a comment to Reuters: "We are confident that the planned introduction of a new hearing aid platform in the coming months will further strengthen our competitiveness within this important contract," adding that the company could not comment on any potential impact on the interim results.
GN Store Nord and William Demant are in a silent period before their earnings. Siemens declined to comment.
Sonova, William Demant and GN Resound each generate 35 to 45 percent of their revenues in North America, mostly the United States.
The U.S. hearing aid market grew 8 percent year-on-year in July, driven by a 13 percent increase in sales to Veterans Affairs. The U.S. private market, where 2.4 million devices were sold last year, grew 6 percent in July, the data showed. (Reporting by Stine Jacobsen; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)
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