Edwards Lifesciences Corporation (EW - Free Report) reported second-quarter 2017 adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.08, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 88 cents by a wide margin of 22.7%. Adjusted earnings also improved a stupendous 42.1% year over year, primarily driven by strong sales growth at the company’s transcatheter heart valves business.
Excluding one-time items, net income in the second quarter came in at $186.1 million or 86 cents per share, up 46.9% or 48.3% year over year, respectively.
Edwards Lifesciences’ second-quarter sales improved 10.9% to $841.8 million. The figure also beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 0.69%. Underlying sales increased 15.3% (including the impact of Germany stocking sales as customers in Germany elected to purchase additional inventory of the SAPIEN 3 valve in anticipation of a potential supply interruption resulting from recent intellectual property litigation).
Revenues were primarily driven by considerable growth in transcatheter heart valve sales as well as strong performance by the other two product lines across all regions.
Edwards Lifesciences Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
For the second quarter, the company reported Transcatheter Heart Valve Therapy (THVT) sales of $487.5 million, reflecting 16.5% growth over the prior-year quarter. In the U.S., THVT sales in the quarter were $316.3 million, up 28.4% year over year. Growth was driven by excellent clinical performance results being delivered by SAPIEN 3 as well continued strong therapy implementation across all regions.
Surgical Heart Valve Therapy sales in the quarter were $207.1 million, up 4.2% from the prior-year quarter. This was led by strong demand for the EDWARDS INTUITY Elite valve system and the supply recovery in mitral valve sales, partially offset by the continuing shift from surgical aortic valves to the SAPIEN 3 valve.
Critical Care sales were $147.2 million in the reported quarter, representing an increase of 3.7% from second-quarter 2016. Solid growth across all product categories was driven by double-digit growth in the company's Enhanced Surgical Recovery Program, mainly in the U.S and Asia Pacific.
In the first quarter, gross margin expanded 160 basis points (bps) to 74.9% owing to a more profitable product mix, led by growing sales of transcatheter valves. This was however partially offset by adverse foreign exchange.
SG&A expenses rose 6.6% year over year to $243.8 million on account of sales and personnel related expenses, primarily in the Transcatheter Valve (THV) segment.On the other hand, R&D expenditures increased 19.5% year over year to $134.4 million owing to continued investments in the company’s transcatheter mitral valve and mitral valve programs, including expenditure on clinical trials. Adjusted operating margin in the quarter expanded 160 bps to 29.9% as the rise in revenues outweighed the increase in operating expenses.
Edwards Lifesciences exited the second quarter with cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments of $1.13 billion, compared with $918.9 million at the end of the first quarter. Long-term debt in the quarter totaled $1.02 billion, compared with $847.9 million reported previously.
Cash flow from operating activities was $197.7 million in the second quarter, compared with $128.3 million in the previous quarter. Excluding capital spending of $58.0 million, free cash flow was $139.7 million. During the quarter, management repurchased 0.8 million shares for $73.8 million to offset dilution associated with its Valtech Cardio acquisition and stock-based incentive compensation.
Updated 2017 Guidance
Banking on a solid second-quarter performance,Edwards Lifesciences has raised its full-year 2017 sales expectations to the high end of the previously projected range of $3.2–$3.4 billion. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for full-year revenue is $3.35 billion, near the high end of the guided range. Adjusted EPS expectations have also been raised to $3.65–$3.85 from $3.43–$3.55. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for full-year adjusted EPS stands at $3.52, within the company’s guided range.
For the third quarter of 2017, the company projects sales (excluding the effect of Germany stocking sales) between $810 million and $850 million. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for revenues is $816.1 million, within the projected range. The company estimates adjusted EPS between 80 cents and 90 cents. Meanwhile, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for adjusted EPS is 83 cents, which is also within the company‘s forecasted range.
Edwards Lifesciences exited the second quarter on a solid note, with both earnings and revenues beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Strong transcatheter valve sales were a major positive. The company also performed well on its gross margin front, which raises optimism. Moreover, Edwards Lifesciences’ raised revenue and earnings guidance hints at better days ahead. However, tough competition in the cardiac devices market and reimbursement issues continue to pose challenges to the company.
Nevertheless, management expects to gain traction in the ever expanding TAVR market, based on increasing preference in favor of transcatheter aortic valve replacement as well as compelling clinical evidences, leading to strong adoption of THV therapy.
Zacks Rank & Other Key Picks
Currently, Edwards Lifesciences sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
Some other top-ranked stocks worth considering in the broader medical sector are PetMed Express, Inc. (PETS - Free Report) , Becton, Dickinson and Company (BDX - Free Report) and Quest Diagnostics Inc. (DGX - Free Report) . Notably, PetMed sports a Zacks Rank #1, while Becton, Dickinson and Company and Quest Diagnostics carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
PetMed has a long-term expected earnings growth rate of 10.00%. The stock has gained around 23.1% over the last month.
Becton, Dickinson and Company has a long-term expected earnings growth rate of 11.25%. The stock has gained around 4.0% over the last month.
Quest Diagnostics has a long-term expected earnings growth rate of 8.39%. The stock has gained around 19.5% over the last six months.
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