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MiniMed Reports Higher Fourth-Quarter Earnings

February 08, 2001|From Reuters

MiniMed Inc., the leading maker of insulin pumps used by diabetics, reported higher fourth-quarter earnings Wednesday but said results in the current quarter would fall short of Wall Street forecasts as the company prepares to launch new products.

Fourth-quarter net income was $18.8 million, or 28 cents a share, including long-term capital gains of $10.7 million. A year ago, net income was $7.4 million, or 11 cents. Revenue rose 30% to $92.5 million.

The Northridge-based company's operating income rose to $13.7 million from $9.5 million a year earlier.

Analysts, on average, had expected operating earnings of 17 cents a share, according to First Call/Thomson Financial. The consensus forecast was lowered from 19 cents after MiniMed warned on Jan. 10 that a shortfall in December sales and tough year-ago comparisons would drag on earnings.

MiniMed's external insulin pumps allow diabetics to infuse insulin into their bloodstreams, replacing the traditional injection method.

"There has been no let-up in demand for our products. Our challenge is in how to deal with and service individual pump patients," Al Mann, MiniMed's chief executive, said during a conference call.

Looking ahead, MiniMed said it plans to invest in infrastructure in the first half of 2001 in order to support growth. It revised downward its projected first-quarter sales, to a range of $72 million to $77 million, from a previous $75 million to $80 million. It forecast earnings of 9 cents to 10 cents a share.

The First Call/Thomson Financial consensus estimate for the first quarter is 13 cents a share, a figure that was lowered from 15 cents after the company's Jan. 10 warning.

MiniMed projected 2001 revenue between $370 million and $390 million, compared with just over $294 million last year.

MiniMed shares rose $3.19 to close at $35.13 on Nasdaq.

The company declined to provide full-year 2001 earnings guidance, citing uncertainties about the launch of new products, including a second-generation implantable pump and a patient version of its continuous glucose sensor, which is now approved only for use under physician supervision.

At a Glance

Other Southern California company earnings, excluding one-time gains and charges unless noted:

* Capstone Turbine Corp., a Chatsworth-based producer of low-emission microturbine systems, said its fourth-quarter net loss decreased to $6.4 million, or 8 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $32.1 million, or $13.56 per share, a year ago. Revenue rose 30% to $7.1 million.

* Woodland Hills-based 21st Century Insurance Group reported fourth-quarter net income of $1.8 million, or 2 cents a share, compared with $7.3 million, or 8 cents, a year ago. Revenue rose 9% to $222 million.

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