Medtronic sees rebound in elective procedures as Omicron surge wanes

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FILE PHOTO - COVID-19 positive patients receive care at Georgia children's hospital

-Medtronic Plc forecast fourth-quarter profit nearly in line with Wall Street estimates on Tuesday, pinning its hopes on elective procedures making a recovery before the end of fiscal year 2022 as COVID-19 cases fall.

A surge in infections from the Omicron variant of COVID during the third quarter had overwhelmed hospitals already grappling with labour shortages, compelling them to put off non-critical surgeries to free up staff and beds.

This dented demand for some Medtronic devices including cardiac monitors and pelvic health products, but strength in the company’s critical heart implants unit helped cushion the blow during the quarter.

Medtronic, whose shares were up 2.8% at $103.41 in morning trade, said it had started seeing a rebound in elective procedures as the impact from surging infections peaked in January and the first half of February.

“Trends are now favorable … And we think procedure volumes will improve throughout March and April and back to pre-COVID levels by the end of our fiscal Q4,” Medtronic Chief Executive Officer Geoff Martha said on a call with analysts.

The company forecast fourth-quarter adjusted earnings per share between $1.56 and $1.58, compared with analysts’ average estimate of $1.57 per share.

Medtronic’s forecast follows similar commentary from smaller rivals Zimmer Biomet and Edwards Lifesciences, which have also said they expect the pressure on elective procedures to ease once COVID-19 infections peak and then stabilize through the year.

The company said while staffing challenges are likely to persist into 2023, it expects hospitals to mitigate the impact by employing temporary staff and making use of technologies such as remote monitoring.

Medtronic reported a quarterly adjusted profit of $1.37 per share, edging past analysts’ average estimate of $1.36 per share, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

(Reporting by Amruta Khandekar and Bhanvi Satija in Bengaluru;Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)