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STAAR Surgical Generates Operating Income for First Time in 10 Years

Wednesday, May 5, 2010 General News J E 4
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MONROVIA, Calif., May 4 STAAR Surgical Company (Nasdaq: STAA), a leading developer, manufacturer and marketer of minimally invasive ophthalmic products, today reported results for the first quarter ended April 2, 2010. These results reflect STAAR's March 2, 2010 divestiture of its German distribution subsidiary, Domilens GmbH. Operating results reported for the first quarter of 2010 and for the comparative prior year period are based on results from continuing operations and exclude any contribution from Domilens, which has been presented as discontinued operations in accordance with U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (U.S. GAAP).

"During the first quarter of 2010 our accomplishments illustrate that STAAR has turned the corner and is now creating opportunities for increased shareholder value," said Barry G. Caldwell, President and CEO. "Those accomplishments include:

"Our streamlined and focused organization, including a stronger financial platform, has created the opportunity to successfully execute a sustainable growth strategy," Mr. Caldwell added.

Recent Visian® Implantable Collamer® Lens (ICL) Highlights

Recent Intraocular Lens (IOL) Highlights

First Quarter Financial Highlights

Preferred Stock Held by Canon

On April 23, 2010 the Company delivered a call notice to Canon Inc. and Canon Marketing Japan Inc., notifying them that STAAR is redeeming all of the outstanding shares of its Series A Convertible Preferred Stock. These preferred shares were issued in December 2007 as partial payment for the Canon companies' interests in the Japanese Canon Staar joint venture. The redemption price for the 1.7 million preferred shares is $4 per share, for an aggregate liquidation value of $6.8 million. The holders have the right to convert all or part of these shares (at a 1:1 conversion ratio) to STAAR common shares until the close of business on May 17, 2010. Any remaining unconverted preferred shares will be purchased by STAAR in cash at $4 per share on May 24, 2010, or on the soonest subsequent date when the shares are tendered to STAAR.

"Now that we are in the position to focus our efforts on increasing key market penetration of our core products, we are today announcing a new "go to market" organizational structure. We are aligning our focus into three regional commercial zones: North America; Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA centered in Switzerland); and Asia Pacific (centered in Japan, Australia and Singapore). Asia Pacific will be led by David Bailey and EMEA will be led by Hans Blickensdoerfer. I am very excited by this approach and the focused leadership that Dave and Hans will provide. This simplified organization will enhance our ability to drive market share and top line growth in line with our stated gross profit margin objectives. Our objective is to achieve a 10% share position for the Visian ICL products in the top ten refractive markets and effectively manage the evolution of global IOL products and brands. This new structure complements our new global approach to marketing, manufacturing and R&D and over time plays a central role in improving efficiencies and accelerating our sustainable growth strategies," Mr. Caldwell added.

"At the recent ASCRS conference in Boston, several industry observers noted 'STAAR is back!'" added Mr. Caldwell. "Our theme internally for the past few quarters has been to make a buck on the operating income line. We accomplished this for the first time in nearly 10 years during the first quarter. I might add this was accomplished without the historic positive contributions from Domilens. I thank and congratulate our employees for their diligent efforts to lower operating expense and focus on our gross profit margin targets. Because of these efforts STAAR is perhaps better positioned than anytime during our history to successfully execute on our growth strategies," concluded Mr. Caldwell.

Conference Call

The Company will host a conference call and webcast on Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at 4:30 p.m. Eastern / 1:30 p.m. Pacific to discuss the Company's first quarter results, and recent corporate developments. The dial-in number for the conference call is 877-941-7133 for domestic participants and 480-629-9031 for international participants.

A taped replay of the conference call will also be available beginning approximately one hour after the call's conclusion and will be available for seven days. This replay can be accessed by dialing 800-406-7325 for domestic callers and 303-590-3030 for international callers, both using passcode 4290946#. To access the live webcast of the call, go to STAAR's website at www.staar.com. An archived webcast will also be available at www.staar.com.

About STAAR Surgical

STAAR, which has been dedicated solely to ophthalmic surgery for over 25 years, designs, develops, manufactures and markets implantable lenses for the eye. All of these lenses are foldable, which permits the surgeon to insert them through a small incision. A lens used to replace the natural lens after cataract surgery is called an intraocular lens or "IOL." A lens used in refractive surgery as an alternative to LASIK is called an Implantable Collamer® Lens or "ICL." Over 150,000 Visian ICLs have been implanted to date; to learn more about the ICL go to: www.visianinfo.com. STAAR has approximately 300 full time employees and markets lenses in approximately 50 countries. Headquartered in Monrovia, CA, it manufactures in the following locations: Nidau, Switzerland; Ichikawa City, Japan; Aliso Viejo, CA; and Monrovia, CA. For more information, please visit the Company's website at: www.staar.com or call 626-303-7902.

Collamer® is the registered trademark for STAAR's proprietary biocompatible collagen copolymer lens material.

Safe Harbor

The financial information presented in this press release for the quarter ended April 2, 2010 is preliminary and remains subject to review by STAAR's independent registered public accountants. Final financial information for the quarter, which STAAR will report in its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, may differ.

All statements in this press release that are not statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements, including statements about any of the following: projections of earnings; revenue; sales; cash or any other financial items; the plans, strategies, and objectives of management for future operations or prospects for achieving such plans; objectives for Visian ICL market share, prospects for any product approval, including approval of the Visian Toric ICL in the U.S.; the outcome of plans to develop accommodating lenses or other products; the financial effect of the Domilens divestiture; statements of belief; and any statements of assumptions underlying any of the foregoing.

These statements are based on expectations and assumptions as of the date of this press release and are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements. The risks and uncertainties include the following: the negative effect of the global recession on sales of products, especially products such as the ICL used in non-reimbursed elective procedures; the challenge of managing our foreign subsidiaries; the risk that sales of our newly introduced products may not restore profitability to our U.S. IOL product line; our ability to overcome negative publicity resulting from warning letters and other correspondence from the FDA Office of Compliance and to demonstrate to the agency that its past concerns have been resolved; the willingness of surgeons and patients to adopt a new product and procedure; patterns of Visian ICL use that have typically limited our penetration of the refractive surgery market, and the potential effect of recent negative publicity about LASIK on the demand for refractive surgery in general in the U.S. STAAR assumes no obligation to update its forward-looking statements to reflect future events or actual outcomes and does not intend to do so.

STAAR's current data on the accommodating properties of the Collamer material derive from the reports of individual independent clinicians and have not been subjected to large scale clinical studies. STAAR's current nanoFLEX IOL does not currently have an FDA labeling claim for accommodation. STAAR cannot assure that its further research will support a claim that either its current Collamer lenses or future designs restore the eye's ability to accommodate. If clinical research does not support these claims, or supports only a narrow range of accommodation, STAAR's Collamer accommodation project may not result in increased sales. New lens designs may require clinical research studies and applying for the FDA's premarket approval, which are expensive and could result in delay or denial of approval.







-- Double digit revenue growth in our core refractive and cataract products, ICLs and IOLs; -- Operating income from continuing operations reported for the first time in ten years; -- Streamlined operations with the divestiture of the Domilens distribution business; -- Resolution of all key legacy issues that have defocused the Company; -- Strong cash position and strengthened balance sheet with opportunity to simplify in the very short term; and -- Focused global organization designed to increase efficiencies and accelerate sales growth.

SOURCE STAAR Surgical Company
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