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[IP] Disetronic sees earnings fall, shares plunge
ZURICH, Feb. 13 Shares in Disetronic (S:DISZn) fell sharply on Wednesday
after the Swiss medical technology firm warned again on earnings in the
2001/02 business year, only three weeks after its previous profit warning.
The stock was down 19.5 percent at 769 Swiss francs, a level last
seen in November 1999, making the stock a top decliner in a flat Swiss
market. So far this year, the share has lost almost 31 percent after easing
4.6 percent in 2001.
Chief Executive Thomas Meyer told a telephone conference that
business in the United States had not recovered so far and forecast the
operating result for the year to March 31, 2002 would be some 20 percent
below the 61 million Swiss francs of 2000/01.
Previously, Disetronic which makes infusion and injection systems for
drugs, had forecast a steady to slightly higher operating result.
Analyst Brigit Kulhoff at Lombard Odier cut her estimate for 2002/03
earnings per share by about 15 percent and by up to 12 percent for 2003/04.
A key question was whether Disetronic had lost market share to rival
She maintained her share recommendation at "hold", noting the
longer-term prospects were positive.
Analyst Karin Bendler at Zuercher Kantonalbank also kept her "market
performer" rating, foreseeing faster growth in the core business and a
recovery in earnings. She said a lot of the bad news had already been
discounted in the share price.
Meyer said that for 2002/03 the firm targeted a margin of operating
profit on sales of above the 14 percent expected for 2000/01, with the help
of the loss of 25 jobs in the United States. The medium-term target was set
at 22 percent.
The sale of Disetronic's pharma packaging systems had raised up to 16
million francs, Meyer said, reiterating Disetronic expected 2001/02 sales of
335 to 340 million francs, up from 303 million in 2000/01.
Disetronic set a share buyback programme, with stock repurchased
initially to be held as treasury stock.
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