Intuitive Surgical's 3Q profit falls 14 percent

Intuitive Surgical's 3Q profit falls 14 percent as sales of da Vinci system decline

Associated Press

NEWS: Intuitive Surgical Inc. posted a 14 percent decrease in third-quarter net income as sales of its da Vinci surgical system continued to decline. Revenue slipped 7 percent from a year earlier.

DETAILS: The da Vinci system uses robotic arms, cameras and a remote control console to help doctors perform surgery with tiny incisions. It is used in gynecological procedures, heart surgeries, prostatectomies, urology procedures and other operations. The company, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., makes money by selling the systems and disposable instruments that must be replaced after each procedure.

Intuitive Surgical said its third-quarter results were affected by continued slow growth in the use of da Vinci in gynecology procedures. Some experts have questioned the use of da Vinci systems in routine hysterectomies, saying use of the systems is more expensive but doesn't improve outcomes for patients. The company also noted an impact from hospitals' changing spending priorities in line with the new health care law. Overall, the company sold 101 surgical systems during the quarter, down from 155 a year ago.

NUMBERS: Net income fell to $157 million, or $3.99 per share, in the July-September period. That's down from $183 million, or $4.46 a share, a year earlier. Revenue declined to $499 million from $538 million.

Analysts expected earnings per share of $3.40 on revenue of $526.7 million, according to FactSet.

FUTURE: Intuitive Surgical said it is focusing on informing potential customers about the safety and cost effectiveness of its products and on expanding its capabilities for general surgery.

STOCK: Shares of Intuitive Surgical fell 8 percent, or $32.13, to $367 in after-hours trading following the company's earnings announcement.

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