Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) -- - Straumann Holding AG, the world’s biggest maker of dental implants, reported fourth-quarter revenue that missed analysts’ estimates due to sluggish sales in Europe and Japan and the end of a distribution agreement.
Sales fell 4.4 percent to 167.8 million Swiss francs ($180.4 million), the Basel, Switzerland-based company said today in a statement. The figure was below the 173.5 million- franc average estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Straumann proposed a dividend for 2012 of 3.75 francs, unchanged from a year earlier.
The company announced a change of chief executive officer on Jan. 4 as it seeks growth amid the market slump. It introduced a cost-cutting plan along with third-quarter earnings Oct. 30 that includes eliminating 150 jobs by early 2013. Rival Nobel Biocare Holding AG reported a decline in sales during the quarter and said it expects the market to remain challenging this year.
“With softer sales and our cost base geared for growth, our margins dropped to a level that requires rigorous cost management at all levels and a new style of resolute leadership,” Gilbert Achermann, Straumann’s chairman and interim CEO, said in a statement. Marco Gadola, who previously was chief financial officer and head of operations at Straumann between 2006 and 2008, will take over from former CEO Beat Spalinger in April, the company has said.
For the year, revenue was 686.3 million francs. The margin for earnings before interest and taxes was 14.5 percent, excluding one-time items. Straumann had forecast an Ebit margin on the same level as the first half of the year at 14.7 percent, excluding restructuring costs.
The company said Oct. 18 it would no longer distribute Align Technology Inc.’s iTero oral scanners because it didn’t want to be in the hardware-distribution business. The scanners are used to design implants.
For 2013, Straumann said it expects to face “continuing constraints” in Europe while North America, China and Brazil should perform well. The company said it aims to deliver improved profit levels this year even if the market remains sluggish and targets a “return to solid growth and a significantly higher operating margin” in the mid-term.
Straumann shares closed yesterday at 126.70 Swiss francs in Zurich, giving a market value of 1.99 billion francs.
--Editors: Thomas Mulier, Kim McLaughlin