Volcano shareholders flee to higher ground

Earnings issues linger in every sector and guidance disappoints.

By Stock Traders Daily Mar 1, 2013 11:39AM
Insurance Money Comstock Images JupiterimagesBy Barry S. Cohen, Stock Traders Daily

Erupting volcanoes can pose many hazards, and not just in the immediate area. Rather than risk the perils of staying put, many shareholders in the like-named company, Volcano (VOLC), fled to higher ground after the San Diego medical device maker reported disappointing results for the fourth quarter of 2012 and lowered its guidance for 2013.

As a result, shares of the company dropped to a three-year low of just under $21.

Now, the news wasn't all bad. Volcano, a medical device maker of products used to diagnose and treat vascular and structural heart diseases, posted best-ever revenue of $102.5 million in the fourth quarter. That even beat Wall Street expectations by a bit. On the other hand, net income declined more than 90% from a year earlier to $2.5 million, or 4 cents per share, due to a huge jump in operating expenses and debt costs. Analysts expected a profit of 9 cents per share, so the earnings drop plus the analyst shortfall caused lava to flow all over Volcano shares. Can Volcano recover from this earnings disaster? Learn more by consulting our real time trading reports.

As expected, CEO Scott Huennekens chose to emphasize the positive, noting that the quarter's 10% revenue gain indicates Volcano is heading in the right direction. One of the company's devices used in coronary procedures grew 45% during the quarter, and Huennekens wants to duplicate that success in other of the company's units.

The company expects revenue in 2013 to be between $406 and $412 million, a 7% jump from 2012. A great deal of that growth is expected to come from two acquisitions Volcano made in the fourth quarter: Inferior vena cava filter company Crux Biomedical, bought in December for $36 million, and software maker Sync-Rx, purchased for $17.3 million in November.

Huennekens plans to keep the acquisition train rolling, looking for add-ons that can help the company build its presence in the market for diagnostic and therapeutic devices for coronary and other applications. That's if Volcano, long a rumored takeover target, isn't scooped up by another major player in the market first. In fact, it's been speculated that Boston Scientific (BSX) has had its eyes on Volcano for some time and may be ready to pull the trigger this year.

In fact, now that the Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare, is firmly in place, many in the industry expect a big pickup in takeover activity in the medical device field. That's because the law and related provisions are going to increase cost pressures on the industry, making economy of scale even more important.

Other device makers rumored to be in the crosshairs include AtriCure (ATRC), Edwards Lifesciences (EW), Given Imaging (GIVN), Heartware International (HTWR) and Illumina (ILMN). For more information about stocks in this space, our real time trading reports help investors identify opportunities before they happen.


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