Shares of St. Jude Medical
Net earnings for the company's 2007 Q1 increased 13.9% on a per-share basis on a 13.4% increase in net sales versus the year-ago quarter. The strong earnings prompted management to up its full-year earnings forecast to a range of $1.72 to $1.77 per share versus previous guidance indicating a range of $1.70 to $1.75.
Sales growth was positive across each of the company's main operating segments. Sales for the company's Cardiac Rhythm Management (CRM) division were up 14%; the increase was driven by a 15% increase in implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) sales and a 12% increase in pacemaker sales over St. Jude's first-quarter 2006. The CRM division accounted for 62% of St. Jude's total sales.
I found the growth numbers in this segment in particular to be extremely promising, given the trepidation surrounding the entire ICD industry in 2006. Going forward, the company will continue to face stiff competition from Boston Scientific
St. Jude's other main business segments -- Atrial Fibrillation, Neuromodulation, and Cardiovascular -- all posted respectable growth following similar gains that these segments experienced in the company's Q4. St. Jude is simply consistently able to grow its business. Following a stormy 2006, the company appears to have righted this ship for the time being. The stock is up 14% year to date and should be able to continue down the same path should the company continue to hit management's earnings targets for 2007. The targets appear very attainable given the double-digit revenue growth in ICDs and pacemakers.
Fool contributor Billy Fisher does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.