Optimistic Cochlear Raises Dividend

By Glenn Dyer | More Articles by Glenn Dyer

Cochlear shares are on track for their best day in 18 months, after the pioneering hearing implant maker boosted earnings by more than expected, boosted its final dividend by more than expected and foreshadowed further growth in 2018.

The final dividend was listed 20 cents a share to $1.40, making a total for the year of $2.70 a share, up 17%

In some respects the Cochlear report mirrored that from CSL on Wednesday, and yet the market reception was much more different.

Cochlear shares ended up more than 7% at $153.02.

The company lifted earnings 18% to $223.6 million after tax on sales of $1.24 billion for the year to June 30 and forecast a net profit of $240 million to $250 million in 2017-18, which if achieved would be a rise of between 7% and 12%, based on an 80 US cent Australian dollar.

"In particular, we expect the launch of the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor, which commences its full market release from September, to contribute to both implant growth and upgrade demand over the coming years," the company said.

The company’s core cochlear implant business, which contributes 62% of sales revenue, achieved 5% revenue growth in 2016/17, as the number of implants sold rose 8% to 32.6 million.

Chief executive Chris Smith said Cochlear invested $152 million in 2016-17, or 12% of sales revenue, in research and development, with a pipeline of new products expected to be launched over the coming years.

That past investment saw Cochlear reveal its first off-the-ear sound processor, Kanso, in the US and European markets.

(Unlike most cochlear processors which are worn on the ear, the Kanso processor is a more discreet device but has the same hearing benefits). And the company also launched the world’s slimmest electrode for cochlear implants, the Nucleus Profile Slim Modiolar, in the same markets.

In May, Cochlear acquired Sycle for around $US78 million, giving it ownership of software that analyses patients’ audiograms and determines whether they are suitable for an implant.

Glenn Dyer

About Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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