Philips' imaging sales hit by DRA

Strong growth in Philips Healthcare's patient monitoring, cardiac care, and customer services units helped to counteract flat sales at the Andover, MA-based firm's imaging systems group in its fourth quarter.

For the period (end-December 31), Philips' healthcare operations generated sales of 1.951 billion euros ($2.901 billion U.S.), up 3% on a comparable basis and down 2% on a nominal basis from the 1.998 billion euros ($2.971 billion U.S.) posted in the fourth quarter of 2006.

Flat sales in the imaging systems unit were attributed to the continued softening in the medical imaging market, including the effect of the U.S. Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) and the weakening of the Japanese market, Philips said.

In quarterly highlights, Philips reported a 10% gain in equipment order intake on a currency-comparable basis, 4% of which were related to four large, long-term contracts. Growth was driven by patient monitoring, cardiac care, general x-ray, and MR, according to the vendor.

The company had earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of 322 million euros ($478.9 million U.S.), up from 293 million euros ($435.8 million U.S.) a year ago. As was the case with sales, higher earnings in patient monitoring, cardiac care, and customer services businesses were largely offset by continued lower results in Philips' imaging systems business.

Looking ahead, Philips said it anticipates continued growth in patient monitoring, cardiac care, home healthcare, and customer services, tempered by limited growth in its imaging businesses.

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