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The Most Important Takeaways From Intuitive Surgical's Q3 Results

By Keith Speights and Brian Orelli, PhD – Oct 28, 2021 at 8:08AM

Key Points

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COVID-19 wasn't a huge issue for the robotic surgical systems leader in the third quarter.

Robotic surgical systems pioneer Intuitive Surgical (ISRG -1.31%) recently reported its financial results for the third quarter of 2021. In this Motley Fool Live video, recorded on Oct. 20, Motley Fool contributors Keith Speights and Brian Orelli discuss the most important takeaways from the Q3 update.

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Keith Speights: Sticking with earnings, Brian, Intuitive Surgical also reported its Q3 results on Tuesday. How did the company do and were there any surprises from your standpoint with Intuitive's results?

Brian Orelli: As always, the health of the company can largely be measured by the growth in procedures performed on its da Vinci robot-assisted devices. Procedures were up 20 percent year over year. But they obviously year-ago quarter had more COVID disruptions than the most recent quarter did, although there were some disruptions in the third quarter of this year as well.

But comparing the third quarter of 2021 to the third quarter of 2019, procedures were up 13 percent compounded annually. That's still solid growth from the company that's been around for quite a while and has definitely matured. Anything above double-digit growth, I think, is solid for Intuitive Surgical and they've done it over two years and off of a base right now that's probably lower than it would be if we weren't still in a pandemic.

The installed base was up 11 percent year over year. They continue to get more of these machines into the hospitals, and that should drive future procedure growth.

I'm looking at GAAP metrics. Revenue increased 30 percent year over year and 12 percent compounded over two years, so pretty close to what the 13 percent for the procedure growth was, which is those two things tend to move side by side, because right now, the disposables that are used during the procedures are a majority of Intuitive Surgical's sales. The procedure growth is going to measure pretty closely to the revenue growth.

On the income side, income was up 19.5 percent on a GAAP basis and 29 percent on an adjusted basis. Some of that was share-based compensation, which I don't really like to back out, but the company does.

Then there was also unrealized gains on strategic investments, so that if you invested in another company and the company's evaluation changes between this year and last year, then you have to adjust your valuation there. I think that's definitely something that can be backed out to look at the actual, true income. Somewhere between 19.5 percent and 29 percent is an accurate representation of the growth of the income.

Keith Speights owns shares of Intuitive Surgical. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Intuitive Surgical. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long January 2022 $193.33 calls on Intuitive Surgical and short January 2022 $200 calls on Intuitive Surgical. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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