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Straumann Declines After Profit Misses Estimates: Zurich Mover

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Aug. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Straumann Holding AG, the world’s biggest maker of dental implants, dropped the most in almost four years after first-half profit missed analysts’ estimates.

The shares fell 13 percent, the most since Oct. 30, 2008. First-half net income climbed to 43.8 million Swiss francs ($45.1 million) from 38.5 million francs a year earlier, the Basel, Switzerland-based company said in a statement today. That missed the 47.4 million-franc average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Straumann bought a 49 percent stake in Brazilian dental-implant maker Neodent for 260 million francs in June to reduce reliance on Europe, its biggest market. The Swiss company said it doesn’t expect demand in the crisis-stricken region to improve “in the near term.”

“In Europe, we were expecting a gradual improvement this year, but that hasn’t materialized,” Chief Executive Officer Beat Spalinger said in a phone interview. The company now expects the market will be stable “at best” compared with last year and may actually contract during the second half of the year, he said.

Straumann shares closed at 108.80 Swiss francs in Zurich, giving the company a market value of 1.7 billion francs.

Martin Brunninger, an analyst with Nomura International Plc, reduced his recommendations on Straumann and its next-biggest rival, Nobel Biocare Holding AG, to neutral from buy on Aug. 17, citing a risk that the companies may reduce their forecasts for the year.

Euro Zone

Last year’s profit included a 40 million-franc charge to revalue Straumann’s Japanese distributor as demand weakened in the wake of a tsunami.

“With the euro zone in recession, it really affects patients’ willingness to spend money,” Carmen Chan, an analyst with Millennium Research Group in Toronto, said Aug. 10 by phone.

Earnings before interest and taxes rose to 53.3 million francs during the period from 38.9 million francs a year earlier. That compares with the 59.3 million-franc average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Sales declined to 361.7 million francs from 367.3 million francs a year earlier, short of the 363.1 million-franc average estimate of 14 analysts. Last year’s sales were reduced by 42 million francs by the strength of the Swiss currency.

Straumann expects to perform above the market and revenue this year will be “at least in line” with the 2011 level of 693.6 million francs. The Ebit margin will be similar to the first-half level, which was 14.7 percent, the company said. The company’s reorganization and increased investment in its North America sales force will put pressure on the full-year margin, Spalinger told analysts today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Allison Connolly in Frankfurt at aconnolly4@bloomberg.net

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

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