Intuitive Surgical's profit tops estimates as da Vinci device sales soar

(Reuters) - Intuitive Surgical Inc's ISRG.O first-quarter profit topped analysts' forecasts as the maker of robotic surgical systems benefited from higher sales of its flagship da Vinci device.

Shares of Intuitive, which ended 4 percent higher on Tuesday, gained another 5 percent in after-hours trading.

The Sunnyvale, California-based company shipped 185 da Vinci systems in the first three months of 2018, about 39 percent higher than shipments a year earlier. The number of surgical procedures using the da Vinci procedure rose about 15 percent in the quarter.

Intuitive has enjoyed a near monopoly in the market for robots used in abdominal surgery since launching the da Vinci device in 2000.

It has ramped up spending on product development in recent months to remain ahead of the competition.

Intuitive said net profit rose to $287.6 million or $2.44 per share in the three months ended March 31, from $180.8 million or $1.57 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, the company earned $2.44 per share, ahead of analysts’ average estimate of $2.07, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue climbed 24.7 percent to $847.5 million.

Reporting by Anuron Kumar Mitra and Akankshita Mukhopadhyay in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar