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Boston Scientific (BSX): International Growth amid CRM Woes

On Apr 12, 2016, we issued an updated research report on leading medical devices company, Boston Scientific Corporation BSX. The stock currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

In the last reported fourth quarter of 2016, the company posted mixed results, with earnings ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate and revenues lagging the same. While severe foreign exchange headwinds continue to pose a major challenge, we are also concerned with the disappointing performance of the company’s core CRM segment with worldwide pacemakers and defibrillator sales declining over the past several quarters.

Boston Scientific continues to strengthen its core businesses and invest in new technologies and global markets, which accounted for the sales upside across most of its businesses and regions in the reported quarter. According to Boston Scientific, its Plant Network Optimization (PNO) strategy has simplified its manufacturing plant structure by shifting certain production lines among facilities. The benefits of PNO, which has already been completed at 2015 end, should start reflecting in the company’s Rhythm Management adjusted operating margin through the second half of 2016.

An important aspect of the company’s growth strategy is to continue pursuing development opportunities outside the U.S. by expanding global presence, inclusive of the emerging markets. In the fourth quarter of 2015, business from the emerging markets registered a robust 15% organic growth rate, in line with the company’s target of reaching 15% of sales by 2017 from 8% in 2013. This encouraging performance was driven by 20% growth in China and Brazil in the reported quarter. 

Boston Scientific hopes to sustain its strong overall international performance taking into consideration several key new product launches that are in the early stages of their rollout. The company is also optimistic about its core cardiology segment which is gradually stabilizing with growth witnessed in the BRIC nations.

We also look forward to Boston Scientific’s buyout of the interventional radiology portfolio of CeloNova Biosciences, a San Antonio-based developer of endovascular and interventional cardiology technologies. According to the company, CeleNova is a synergistic tuck-in acquisition focused on the treatment of liver cancer via localized delivery of chemotherapeutic agents.

Meanwhile, sluggish CRM sales over the recent past continue to weigh on the stock. At the beginning of 2015, Boston Scientific predicted a slowdown in worldwide CRM sales for the entire year due to replacement cycle headwinds and competitive launches in the U.S. The company continues to anticipate softness in U.S. CRM sales even in the first quarter of 2016 as it awaits the launch of key new products in the country, like Brady MRI safe system in the first quarter and full X4 Quad system in the first half of the year.

Nevertheless, Boston Scientific has a strong pipeline of products under development, the launch of which should drive the top line, going ahead. We are optimistic about the company’s gradually improving performance in Interventional Cardiology, led by an innovative portfolio and robust execution by global commercial teams.

Key Picks in the Sector

Some other well-ranked medical product stocks that warrant a look include Cardiovascular Systems Inc. CSII, LeMaitre Vascular, Inc. LMAT and GW Pharmaceuticals plc GWPH. All three stocks sport the same Zacks Rank as Boston Scientific.

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BOSTON SCIENTIF (BSX): Free Stock Analysis Report
LEMAITRE VASCLR (LMAT): Free Stock Analysis Report
CARDIOVASCLR SY (CSII): Free Stock Analysis Report
GW PHARMA-ADR (GWPH): Free Stock Analysis Report
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