Nobel Biocare Rises After Third-Quarter Sales Beat Estimates

Nobel Biocare Holding AG, the world’s second-biggest dental implant maker, rose the most in more than two weeks after third-quarter sales exceeded analyst estimates.

Nobel Biocare gained 6.9 percent to 11.11 francs in Zurich. The stock had fallen 36 percent this year including reinvested dividends.

Revenue decreased to 128.2 million euros ($177 million) from 131.7 million euros, compared with the 125.7 million-euro average estimate of 15 analysts. Expensive prosthetics sales in North America and Asia were better than expected, though in Europe such revenue was little changed, the Glattbrugg, Switzerland-based company said today in a statement. Nobel Biocare maintained its 2011 forecast, even after reporting a surprise quarterly loss due to a one-time hedging cost.

“A lot of people were bearish going into these results,” Oliver Metzger, an analyst with Commerzbank AG, said in an interview today. He recommends buying the shares. “It was very dire at the half-year presentation. They were very conservative, so these results surprised on the top line.”

The hedging cost had been flagged by the company earlier and many analysts had factored it in, Daniel Jelovcan, an analyst with Bank Vontobel AG, said in an interview today. He has a reduce rating on the stock.

Net Loss

The net loss was 2.2 million euros, or 2 cents a share, compared with a loss of 17.8 million euros, or 14 cents a share, a year earlier, the company said. That missed the average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg for net income of 3.5 million euros.

Nobel Biocare is attempting to win back market share lost to larger rival Straumann Holding AG after a reorganization that has been complicated by a succession of three chief executive officers since 2007. Costs related to the introduction of new products weighed on profit in the year-earlier period.

“Much work remains to be done, but we are executing according to plan and are on track,” CEO Richard Laube said in the statement.

Revenue in Europe, the Middle East and Africa dropped 5.4 percent in the quarter, hurt by “increasing economic uncertainty,” the company said. Europe will remain weak, though the company has seen a good response to new products there, Chief Financial Officer Dirk Kirsten said during a conference call with reporters today.

One-Time Cost

The company had a one-time cost of 11.6 million euros from hedges against the strengthening franc that Nobel Biocare made days before the Swiss National Bank’s Sept. 6 decision to impose a ceiling for the franc against the euro. The hedges lost value because of the SNB’s move, resulting in an “exceptional” cost that won’t be repeated, Kirsten said.

The results were “a mixed bag,” with sales being positive and developments in Europe negative, Sibylle Bischofberger Frick, an analyst with Zuercher Kantonalbank, said in an interview today. She expected hedging costs to be higher.

Nobel Biocare repeated that it expects 2011 revenue and profit margin to match last year’s figures, excluding currency effects and exceptional expenses. The fourth quarter has typically higher sales and profit, Kirsten said.

The dental market should grow in the low-to-mid-single digit percentage range this year, Nobel and rival Straumann have said.

Nobel Biocare isn’t in talks with anyone over a possible sale of the company, Kirsten said. Nobel Biocare rose the most in nine years on Oct. 24 after NZZ am Sonntag reported that EQT Partners AB and Bain Capital LLC were considering buying the Swiss dental-implant maker.

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