* Operating profit to miss analyst expectations
* Company sees no improvement in Japan in coming months
* Japan accounts for 13 percent of sales
* Shares fall 8.5 pct vs 0.3 pct rise in healthcare index
(Adds shares, details, analyst comment)
By Martin de Sa'Pinto and Catherine Bosley
ZURICH, Oct 4 Swiss dental implant maker Nobel
Biocare said negative media coverage in Japan of
implant treatments damaged its third-quarter sales and will
impact revenues and profits for the year, sending shares sharply
The company said operating profit would be 67 to 70 million
euros ($86.4 to 90.3 million) for the full year. Analysts had
expected 76.15 million euros, according to Reuters data.
The Zurich-based company, which competes with Straumann
, said in August, a public debate in the Asia-Pacific
region over the safety of dental implants had fuelled a 5.6
percent drop in sales.
Japan accounts for about 13 percent of its revenues.
The company also ditched its forecasts for global market
growth in 2012, warning of a modest decline for the rest of the
year as demand falls prey to poor economic conditions.
"The development is difficult to predict at this point in
time but the company does not anticipate any improvement in the
coming months," Nobel said in a statement on Thursday.
The firm expects revenue for the full year to fall in the
low single digit percentage range at constant foreign exchange
It said third-quarter revenue was 131 million euros, up 2
percent year-on-year in euro terms and down 5.1 percent at
constant exchange rates.
Nobel has for years faced headwinds as the economic downturn
causes patients to postpone pricey dental work. Screw-in
prosthetic teeth can cost thousands of francs apiece.
The firm has undergone a series of management changes in an
attempt to regain its footing. After CEO Heliane Canepa left in
2007, Domenico Scala was brought in from agrochemical group
Syngenta. He was charged with restoring the group's
reputation after an aggressive marketing campaign tarnished
Nobel Biocare's standing among industry experts and Swedish
professors questioned the safety of some of its products.
But Scala struggled to get to grips with regional management
issues and product mix. In early 2011 he was replaced by current
head Richard Laube, a former executive at Nestle.
"The profit warning by the dental implant-maker should give
investors a new toothache. But it seems good that in the third
quarter they don't seem to have lost any market share," analysts
at the bank Notenstein said.
Shares in Nobel Biocare, which have already fallen nearly 14
percent this year, traded 8.3 percent lower at 8.66 Swiss francs
at 0716 GMT, underperforming a 0.2 percent rise in the Stoxx
European Healthcare index.
"The root-canal treatment for turning around the business
seems to be showing some effects. However, the path to new
market share gains should still take some time," the Notenstein
Already in August, CEO Laube characterised the market as
"bad", though the firm stuck to its target for revenue growth in
line with the market.
(Reporting by Martin de Sa'Pinto; Editing by Mike Nesbit)