• Company expects adjusted earnings of $2.67 to $2.77 a share
  • Adjusted earnings of 71 cents a share vs. 66-cent estimate

Edwards Lifesciences Corp. posted first-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates and raised its 2016 guidance for the second time in as many quarters as demand increased for its aortic valves.

Earnings excluding one-time items were 71 cents a share, the Irvine, California-based company said in a statement, compared with the 66-cent average of 23 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Edwards raised its forecast range for annual adjusted earnings by 10 cents to $2.67 to $2.77 a share. Analysts projected $2.68 on average.

The medical device maker has unveiled blockbuster studies showing its Sapien family of valves, which spare patients open-heart surgery, can improve health and lengthen life in an ever-growing group of people with severe aortic narrowing. The results have fueled what analysts and the company say will become a $5 billion market to restore function in aortic valves, which regulate the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the the body.

The findings have propelled Edwards to the top of stock performance lists and made it one of the biggest gainers among the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and the Health Care Equipment Index.

In the first quarter:

  • Net income rose to $143 million, or 66 cents a share, from $123.4 million, or 56 cents, a year earlier
  • Sales gained 18 percent to $697.3 million from $590.3 million a year earlier
  • Global transcatheter heart valve sales rose 37 percent to $367.8 million
  • U.S. transcatheter heart valve sales increased 65 percent to $216.4 million
  • Sales guidance for 2016 raised to $2.7 billion to $3 billion from an earlier forecast of $2.6 billion to $2.85 billion
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