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Bard Shares Fall After 2012 Earnings Forecast Disappoints

Dec. 21 (Bloomberg) -- C.R. Bard Inc., maker of catheters and surgical devices, dropped 4.3 percent in New York trading after its 2012 profit forecast missed analyst estimates.

Bard fell to $84.04 at 4:02 p.m. New York time, the biggest decline in eight weeks. Earnings excluding some items will rise 3 percent to 4 percent, weighed down by the cost of acquiring Lutonix Inc., Murray Hill, New Jersey-based Bard said on a conference call yesterday.

Lutonix received $225 million upfront and is eligible for an additional $100 million if it gets U.S. approval for a drug-coated balloon to clear clogged leg arteries, Bard said yesterday. The acquisition cost will cut 2012 profit by 25 cents a share, Bard said. The forecast implies earnings of $6.57 to $6.64, less than the $6.98 analysts expected, said Joanne Wuensch, an analyst with BMO Capital Markets in New York.

The guidance “may be somewhat disappointing to investors, as it is below consensus, even before the Lutonix dilution,” Wuensch wrote in a note to investors today.

Bard’s shares had fallen 6.6 percent in the 12 months before today.

Lutonix, which is based in Minneapolis and had been closely held, is studying its balloon technology for peripheral arterial disease, a narrowing of the leg arteries that can lead to amputation. The malady afflicts 8 million to 12 million Americans.

The market for drug-coated balloons may reach $1 billion within 10 years, Bard said a statement yesterday. None of the balloons are approved in the U.S.

The study will enroll 476 patients, who will be tracked for five years after treatment. The company plans to file for Food and Drug Administration clearance of the balloon after patients have been followed for one year. The device is already approved in Europe, and Bard said it expects to begin selling it there in the second half of 2012.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michelle Fay Cortez in Minneapolis at mcortez@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net

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