* Q1 adj profit of 19cts/share, in line with analysts
* Worldwide stent sales rise to $445 mln from $428 mln
* Reaffirms 2009 sales forecast of $8.0 bln to 8.5 bln (Recasts; adds earnings details, analyst comment, share price)
By Susan Kelly
CHICAGO, April 20 (Reuters) - Boston Scientific Corp (BSX.N) posted a quarterly net loss on Monday after taking a large charge related to a negative ruling in a stent patent lawsuit.
Excluding one-time items, the medical device maker reported a profit in line with analysts’ expectations as sales of its closely watched drug-coated stents improved, and the company’s shares rose 7 percent in after-hours trading.
“The nice thing to see was that the drug-eluting stents were much better than I was expecting. That’s important for the company,” said Edward Jones analyst Aaron Vaughn.
Stents are small wire-mesh tubes inserted into coronary arteries to prop them open after they have been cleared of blockages.
Sales of cardiac devices such as stents are holding up better in the recession than some other medical treatments because the devices are much more likely to be deemed medically necessary.
Boston Scientific reported a first-quarter net loss of $13 million, or 1 cent a share, compared with a profit of $322 million, or 21 cents a share, in the same period a year ago.
Included in the net results were $240 million of charges related to various patent lawsuits. The company lost an appeal in a patent dispute with rival stent maker Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N). Items related to acquisitions, divestitures and restructuring also hurt the bottom line.
“It’s a really muddy quarter again with all these litigation charges and all these issues. I have a hard time figuring what cash is,” said Tim Nelson, healthcare analyst at asset management firm FAF Advisors.
But sales were up in both of the company’s key product lines: stents and implantable cardioverter defibrillators, which shock a rapidly beating heart back to normal rhythm, he noted.
“People will take some encouragement from the fact that the stent number looked a little bit better and the ICD number looked a little bit better than I was expecting, though not a lot,” Nelson said.
Excluding special items, the Natick, Massachusetts-based company said its adjusted profit was $289 million, or 19 cents a share. That was in line with the average analyst estimate according to Reuters Estimates.
Overall first-quarter sales fell to $2.01 billion from $2.05 billion a year ago.
Worldwide sales of drug-coated stents rose to $445 million in the quarter from $428 million a year ago. Worldwide ICD sales increased to $444 million from $411 million. The company’s cardiac rhythm management division, which includes ICDs, saw sales rise 9 percent.
Boston Scientific said its worldwide drug-eluting stent market share expanded to 44 percent, with U.S. market share increasing to 50 percent. Of the U.S. total, 27 percent came from the company’s own Taxus brand and 23 percent from sales of the Promus stent.
As part of its $27 billion acquisition of Guidant Corp in 2006, Boston Scientific sold Guidant’s stent business to Abbott Laboratories (ABT.N) but retained the right to sell the Xience stent under the Promus brand name with 40 percent of the profit going to Abbott.
For 2009, Boston Scientific expects net income of between 46 cents and 57 cents per share, as a result of the first-quarter litigation-related charges and other items. It reaffirmed its net sales estimate for the full year of between $8.0 billion and $8.5 billion.
Boston Scientific shares rose to $9.30 in extended trading from their New York Stock Exchange close at $8.69. (Reporting by Susan Kelly; Editing by Andre Grenon, Richard Chang)