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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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