UPDATE 2-Boston Scientific reports narrower 3rd-qtr loss

Thursday, 24 Oct 2013 | 9:18 AM ET

Oct 24 (Reuters) - Boston Scientific Corp, which a day earlier announced a new round of job cuts, on Thursday reported a narrower third-quarter loss on flat sales of its array of medical devices.

The company, whose shares fell 3 percent in premarket trading, said on Thursday it lost $5 million, or nil per share, in the third quarter. That compared with a net loss of $664 million, or 48 cents per share, in the year-ago period, when the company took restructuring and litigation charges.

Excluding special items, including for new restructuring programs and litigation, Boston Scientific earned 10 cents per share. On that basis, analysts, on average, expected 9 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Global company sales of $1.735 billion matched Wall Street expectations. Boston Scientific said sales would have risen 4 percent, excluding divested businesses and the impact of the stronger dollar, which lowers the value of sales in overseas markets.

The company forecast full-year earnings, excluding special items, of 69 cents to 71 cents per share. It had previously forecast 67 to 71 cents per share.

Boston Scientific is attempting to rebound from years of declining revenue, as consumers and government payers around the world have cut back on healthcare spending during the global economic downturn.

It has initiated numerous cost-cutting efforts and leadership changes over the last several years, and on Wednesday said it will cut up to 1,500 jobs in its latest restructuring plan.

The new effort aims to save $150 million to $200 million in operating expenses by the end of 2015, and would reduce its current 24,000-employee global workforce by 1,100 to 1,500 positions through attrition and targeted job cuts.

Boston Scientific forecast sales for the fourth quarter of $1.78 billion to $1.83 billion, with the top end of the forecast in line with Wall Street expectations.

"But fourth-quarter sales guidance ... does imply that sales growth isn't expected to accelerate further next quarter and may even decelerate a bit," Leerink Swann analyst Danielle Antalffy said in a research note.

Even so, Antalffy said the company appears to be on the road to a turnaround by delivering its second consecutive quarter of organic sales growth for the first time since mid-2009.

Global sales of Boston Scientific's interventional cardiology products, primarily heart stents, fell 4 percent to $472 million in the quarter. Sales of its cardiac rhythm management products, including pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators used to shock dangerously irregular heartbeats into a normal rhythm, rose 1 percent to $464 million.

Sales of endoscopy devices, used to look inside the body, increased 4 percent to $322 million.

Boston Scientific's stock price has more than doubled this year, after about four years in which it had been stuck in the single-digit range.

But the shares lost ground on Thursday, trading at $11.90 premarket on the New York Stock Exchange, from Wednesday's closing price of $12.29 per share Wednesday.

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