Edwards Lifesciences reports strong first quarter earnings
Edwards Lifesciences has reported strong first quarter net earnings totaling $63.9 million compared to a net income of $47.7 million for the same period in 2010. The quarter ended March 31.

The Irvine, Calif.-based company said that first quarter net sales increased 18.8 percent to $404.5 million from the same period last year, with a sales growth which equated to 17.3 percent.

Edwards said the results are tied to positive sales for its Sapien XT transcatheter heart valve, which totaled $244.9 million in the first quarter, a 24.5 percent growth over last year. Underlying sales for the technology grew 23.8 percent, with total sales of $72.7 million, an 85.7 percent increase over 2010.

These results were moved by orders for the new 29 mm Sapien XT valve and sales for the transcatheter heart valve throughout Europe.

Additionally, Edwards reported that sales for surgical heart valves grew 9.2 percent over last year, 7.8 percent on an underlying basis. The strong results were also driven by sales for the FloTrac pressure monitoring system. It was reported that critical care sales were $120.6 million for the quarter, a 14.8 percent growth compared with last year.

And while cardiac surgery system sales increased by $26.1 million for the first quarter, a 5.5 percent growth over last year, vascular sales were reported to be $12.9 million, a decrease of $1 million from the same quarter last year.

The company reported that domestic and international sales for the first quarter were $149.1 million and $255.4 million, respectively.

Compared with the same period last year, the company reported that the gross profit margin was greater for the quarter, 71.1 percent vs. 71 percent. Edwards said that the improvement was a direct result of the continued investments and expansion in sales of its heart valve technology.

The company reported a total debt of $149.5 million at the end of the first quarter and cash and cash equivalents were $433.8 million, results in net cash of $284.3 million. During the first quarter, Edwards repurchased 885,000 shares of common stock for $75.8 million.

"We believe this quarter's results clearly demonstrate our market leading product lines are well positioned to contribute to our long term success," said Michael A. Mussallem, chairman and CEO of Edwards. "And, our anticipated launch of SAPIEN in the U.S. and its further global expansion should position the company for accelerating revenue growth and fuel an expanding operating margin."