* Q3 EPS $1.55 excluding items, vs estimates of $1.48
* Revenue up 18.7 pct to 280.1 mln
* 86 da Vinci surgical systems sold vs year ago 91
* Shares fall 6.5 pct (Adds analyst EPS estimate, comment, share move)
By Bill Berkrot
NEW YORK, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Intuitive Surgical Inc(ISRG.O) on Tuesday reported third-quarter profit rose 12 percent, helped by a jump in instruments and accessories revenue and sales of new, more expensive versions of its da Vinci surgical robots.
Despite revenue and profit that topped Wall Street expectations, however, Intuitive’s shares whipsawed up and down in after hours trading before settling 6.5 percent lower.
The shares had climbed 24 percent since the beginning of September, hitting a 52-week high earlier on Tuesday.
“This stock is historically very volatile around earnings,” said Les Funtleyder, an analyst for Miller Tabak & Co.
“It’s a great company and a great product, but the macro environment is challenging near term,” Funtleyder added, referring to capital spending constraints by hospitals due to the global recession.
The company posted a net profit of $64.5 million, or $1.64 per share, compared with a profit of $57.6 million, or $1.44 per share, a year ago.
Excluding items, such as revenue deferred in the first quarter, Intuitive earned $1.55 per share, topping analysts’ average expectations by 7 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue rose 18.7 percent to $280.1 million, easily exceeding Wall Street estimates of $258.2 million.
The rise was driven by a 32.8 percent jump in instruments and accessories revenue to $100.8 million as da Vinci surgical procedures rose 49 percent in the quarter despite lower revenue per procedure.
The Sunnyvale, California-based company sold 86 of its flagship da Vinci robot systems used in delicate prostate and gynecological procedures. That was five fewer than in the year-ago quarter, but 70 of the 86 were the newer, more expensive SI models, the company said.
There are now a total of 1,308 da Vinci systems installed worldwide, including 968 in the United States, the company said.
Intuitive said the average price per system sold in the quarter was nearly $1.4 million.
Sales in Europe for the quarter were disappointing, but the company said it was a historically slow quarter due to summer vacations, and that continued recessionary pressure was not helping overseas sales.
Intuitive shares fell to $250 in after hours trading from their Nasdaq close at $267.45.
Reporting by Bill Berkrot; Editing by Richard Chang, Bernard Orr