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Sonova First-Half Sales Drop 8.2% on Franc, Implant Recall

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Oct. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Sonova Holding AG’s first-half revenue sank 8.2 percent, more than forecast by analysts, on the Swiss franc’s strength and the recall of a hearing implant.

Sales in the six months ended Sept. 30 dropped to 763 million Swiss francs ($851.3 million) from 831.5 million francs a year earlier, the Staefa, Switzerland-based maker of hearing aids said in a statement today announcing preliminary results. Analysts predicted 783.7 million francs, the average of three estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

The franc’s strength against the euro and the dollar cut sales by 17 percent, the company said. Sales of hearing instruments increased 11 percent in local currency terms, boosted by Phonak Spice and Unitron ERA products, Sonova said.

Sonova recalled the HiRes 90K cochlear implants, made by its Advanced Bionics unit, in November because of a malfunction that led to “severe pain, overly loud sounds and/or shocking sensations.” The company received approval in September from U.S. regulators to resume sales. Sonova said it began selling the product again outside the U.S. in mid-April.

First-half earnings will be announced Nov. 15. Sonova is briefing investors and analysts at a hearing-aid conference today in Germany.

Sonova rose 0.3 percent to 76.75 francs at the close in Zurich yesterday. The stock has fallen 35 percent this year, giving the company a market value of 5.1 billion francs.

To contact the reporter on this story: Phil Serafino in Paris at pserafino@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Phil Serafino at pserafino@bloomberg.net.

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