Industry round-up GE, Meridian, Philips, Siemens, SmartPill, Varian

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GE Healthcare saw flat revenues in Q1 2007, with $3.641 million in revenue reported in the period closing March 31, compared to the previous-year total of $3.659. However, profit for the period in 2007 was up 5 percent at $520 million compared to $496 million posted in the prior year.

U.K.-based software developer Meridian Technique has established a new distribution agreement for its OrthoView‘s orthopaedic digital planning and templating systems in France via EDL (Edition et Développement de Logiciels). EDL in March sold the first OrthoView system to the Centre Hospitalier Rodez, in the south of France. EDL is a supplier of RIS systems to the radiology market, initially to public hospitals, including University Hospitals, and more recently to the private sector as well.

Philips Medical Systems saw a slight decline in profits in Q1 2007 compared with the same period in 2006, with approximately $137 million in 2007 EBITA earnings before the deduction of interest, tax and amortization expenses, compared to nearly $138 million in 2006. However, the company said that excluding $10.8 million in purchasing-accounting charges for the acquisition of Intermagnetics and $16.3 million of additional incidental losses at its subsidiary MedQuist, EBITA was up $25.8 million compared to Q1 2006.

Varian Medical Systems reported net earnings of $61 million for Q2 fiscal year 2007 versus net earnings of $56 million in the year-ago quarter. Revenues for the quarter rose 7 percent to $443 million, including $9 million from the acquisition of ACCEL Instruments. Net orders for the second quarter were $528 million, up 23 percent versus the same period last year, including $47 million in acquired backlog from ACCEL.
The company's Q2 gross margin was nearly 42 percent, up half a point from the year-ago quarter with a nearly 7 point jump in the x-ray products margin as well as a small improvement in oncology systems' margin. These two businesses contributed to a 30 basis point improvement in Varian's Q2 operating margin versus the year ago period, despite the approximately one point dilutive effect of the ACCEL acquisition.
The company also said that due to low orders growth in its oncology systems in the first half of fiscal 2007 and longer average times in backlog, that total company revenues for the fiscal year should increase in the low double-digits above fiscal 2006, including the effects of the ACCEL acquisition.

Siemens Medical Solutions saw Q2 profit climb 28 percent year-over-year, to $453.5 million. The increase is partly attributable to earnings from the group’s Diagnostics division, which included the acquisition of Diagnostic Products Corp. and the diagnostics division of Bayer AG. Group profit benefited also from divestments as well as from the sale of a portion of the group’s stake in a joint venture, Draeger Medical AG & Co. KG. These gains offset purchase price accounting effects and integration costs associated with the acquisitions. Revenue and orders rose to approximately $3.4 billion and $3.5 billion, respectively, including substantial new volume from the Diagnostics division.

The Center for Advanced GI of Maitland, Fla. is offering the SmartPill GI Monitoring System to patients with suspected motility disorders. SmartPill can be used to aid in the evaluation of gastrointestinal motility disorders, including those patients suffering from symptoms of slow gastric emptying, a condition known as gastroparesis. Symptoms of gastroparesis include heartburn, nausea, vomiting of undigested food, abdominal bloating, erratic blood glucose levels and spasms of the stomach wall. A complement to endoscopy, the SmartPill pH.p Capsule has the potential to replace gastric emptying scintigraphy.