Boston Scientific's fourth-quarter sales climb 13.4% as profit buoyed by tax benefit

Headline results for the fourth quarter:


$2.9 billion (forecasts of $2.92 billion)



$4 billion

Versus $386 million

Note: All changes are versus the prior-year period unless otherwise stated

What the company said:

"We delivered strong revenue and adjusted [earnings per share] growth for the quarter and the year," noted CEO Mike Mahoney, with the company explaining that it recorded a net income tax benefit of $4.1 billion in the three-month period.

Other results:

  • Cardiovascular: $1.2 billion, up 18.7%
    • Interventional cardiology: $748 million, up 12.1%, with "broad-based strength" from the structural heart segment
    • Peripheral interventions: $403 million, up 33.2%, with double-digit growth in Asia-Pacific, partially offset by a decline in US sales due to the launch of the Eluvia drug-eluting vascular stent system and "a competitor's manufacturing issues one year ago"
  • MedSurg: $878 million, up 9.8%
    • Endoscopy: $499 million, up 8.8%, led by double-digit growth in both the pancreaticobiliary and infection prevention franchises
    • Urology and pelvic health: $379 million, up 11.1%, led by double-digit growth in single-use ureteroscope LithoVue, core stone and Rezūm minimally invasive therapy for benign prostatic hyperplasia
  • Rhythm and Neuro: $817 million, up 3.5%
    • Cardiac rhythm management: $473 million, down 3.3%, primarily due to a mid-single-digit downturn in US implantable cardioverter-defibrillator revenue
    • Neuromodulation: $261 million, up 18.7%, led by a doubling of Vercise  deep brain stimulation system sales and CE-mark approval for Neural Navigator 3
    • Electrophysiology: $84 million, up 3%, with "disappointing" US sales, while international revenues were led by the launch of the DirectSense catheter in Europe and Japan, and continued double-digit growth in major markets for Rhythmia HDx
  • Full-year revenue: $10.7 billion, up 9.3%
  • Full-year profit: $4.7 billion, versus $1.7 billion in 2018

Looking ahead:

Boston Scientific expects revenue growth this year in the range of 10% to 12%, with earnings per share predicted to be between $1.74 and $1.79, higher than the range of $1.55 to $1.58 it had anticipated in its preliminary outlook in January. Meanwhile, analysts are forecasting earnings per share of $1.79 for the full year on sales of $12.1 billion.

The company also estimates there will be a negative sales impact of $10 million to $40 million in the first quarter "due to the potential effect of the coronavirus on procedure volumes in China and supply chain disruption."

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