Sonova Sees Profit Growth Slowing on Reimbursement Shifts

Sonova Holding AG forecast that profit growth will slow this year because of government reimbursement changes in the Netherlands and Scandinavia and weakening sales in Europe.

Earnings before interest, taxes and acquisition-related amortization and impairments will rise 9 percent to 13 percent in local currencies compared with a 15 percent jump in the 12 months ended March, the Staefa, Switzerland-based company said in a statement today. Sales on that basis will rise 6 percent to 8 percent, versus a 7.4 percent gain in fiscal 2013.

“The real disappointment is the outlook, especially on the back of recent product launches,” Oliver Metzger, an analyst with Commerzbank AG, said in a phone interview today. “It indicates a slowdown in momentum.”

Full-year Ebita fell to 182.8 million Swiss francs ($188.7 million) from 315.2 million francs in fiscal 2012 after Sonova increased product-liability provisions by 197.8 million francs to cover claims related to a 2006 recall of cochlear implants made by its Advanced Bionics unit. Excluding the one-time charges and currency effects, Ebita increased to 386.4 million francs.

Sonova fell 1.1 percent to 103.50 francs at the close in Zurich, paring the gain in the past 12 months to 11 percent.

Sales increased 11 percent to 1.8 billion francs, in line with the 1.82 billion-franc average of 17 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The company plans a dividend of 1.60 francs a share.

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