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Heart devices technologies major Abiomed Inc. (ABMD - Analyst Report) reported fourth quarter fiscal 2012 adjusted (excluding one-time items except stock-based compensation expenses) earnings per share of 7 cents, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 6 cents and surpassing the year-ago loss per share of 4 cents.

In the reported quarter, profit was $2.6 million (or 6 cents a share) versus a net loss of $1.8 million (or 5 cents a share) in the year-ago quarter.

For the fiscal year, adjusted earnings of 5 cents per share was ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 1 cent and exceeded the year-ago loss per share of 27 cents. For the full year, profits (as reported) amounted to $1.5 million (or 4 cents a share) versus a net loss of $11.8 million (or 32 cents a share) a year-ago.

Revenue

Revenues soared 31% year over year to $37.3 million (a quarterly record), beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $35 million. For the fiscal, revenues climbed 25% to $126.4 million, ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $124 million. Growth in both the quarter and the fiscal was led by solid sales of Impella heart pumps.

Globally, Impella sales rose 43% year over year to $32.3 million in the fourth quarter. U.S. Impella sales spiked 44% to $29.9 million. Abiomed opened 26 new U.S. Impella 2.5 sites in the fourth quarter to end with a total of 631 customer sites.

Margins

Gross margins increased to 81.8% in the reported quarter from 79.5% a year ago. Income from operations was $2.9 million compared to an operating loss of $1.4 million in the prior-year quarter.

Selling, general and administrative expenses were lower at 53.6% of sales versus 59.2% in the year-ago quarter. Research and Development expenses, as a percentage of sales, fell to 19.4% from 24%.

Balance Sheet

Abiomed exited the quarter with cash and cash equivalents and short-term marketable securities of $77.2 million, 28% higher than the previous year. The company has no debt.

Guidance

For fiscal 2013, Abiomed forecasts revenues to grow by 20% – 24% in to a band of $152 million and $157 million. Global Impella sales are expected to rise by roughly 30%.

Abiomed is enjoying strong demand for its Impella products. Impella utilization continues to grow at a healthy pace as evident from the increasing number of patients being treated with the device.

The company, in March 2012, made a number of presentations on the Impella device at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions. One of the presentations included the first human use of the Impella RP heart pump outside the U.S for treating right-sided heart failure.

Moreover, Abiomed announced the first successful human use of its new percutaneous Impella cVAD heart pump outside the U.S. The device can pump up to 4 liters of blood in one minute.

While we are upbeat about the prospects of Impella, we remain cautious about the intensely competitive environment and reimbursement risks. Abiomed faces competition from organizations developing permanent heart assist products including Thoratec Corporation (THOR - Analyst Report).

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