U.S. Markets closed

Staar Surgical falls on 4Q results and 2013 view

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Staar Surgical Co. slipped Thursday after the implantable lens maker's fourth-quarter results and its 2013 outlook fell short of Wall Street expectations.

THE SPARK: Staar reported its fourth-quarter results after the market closed on Wednesday. The company said its total revenue edged up 1 percent to $16.5 million, but sales to a distributor in Korea fell by more than half because the distributor cut back on its inventory. That led to lower sales of the company's Visian ICL lens.

The Monrovia, Calif., company said it earned a penny per share in the fourth quarter if one-time charges are excluded.

Analysts expected Staar to report net income of 3 cents per share and $17.7 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

THE BIG PICTURE: Staar said sales of implantable collamer lenses, or ICLs, fell about 2 percent to $8.8 million. That includes lower sales of Visian, which is used to treat myopia, or nearsightedness, and other vision problems. ICLs are used as an alternative to Lasik procedures. Sales of intraocular lenses, which are used to replace biological lenses after cataract surgeries, held steady at $6.8 million.

In 2012, sales of ICLs rose 9 percent to $35.1 million and IOL sales fell 6 percent to $26 million. Total revenue rose 2 percent to $63.8 million.

Staar said it expects to turn a profit each quarter in 2013, and said its sales will grow 8 to 10 percent, which implies a total of $68.9 million to $70.2 million. The company also said it is "encouraged" by sales to its Korean distributor early in the year, and said purchases had grown more than 60 percent compared to the first two months of 2012.

Analysts were forecasting net income of 16 cents per share and $72.4 million in revenue

THE ANALYSIS: William Blair & Co. analyst Matthew O'Brien said Visian ICL sales were weaker than he expected. He said ICL sales have struggled for several quarters, and additional spending will hurt the company's earnings in 2013. O'Brien downgraded Staar shares to "Market Perform" from "Outperform."

SHARE ACTION: Staar Surgical shares declined 46 cents, or 7.9 percent, to $5.34 in afternoon trading. The stock has lost almost half its value since reported its first-quarter 2012 results last May.