HeartMate sales propel Thoratec's Q4 revenue jump

Thoratec posted a big Q4 thanks to expanded sales of the HeartMate II--courtesy of Thoratec

Thanks to a 15.5% leap in sales for its signature devices, Thoratec ($THOR) posted a 17% revenue jump in the fourth quarter, and the devicemaker expects to keep cashing in through 2013.

HeartMate, the company's flagship line of left ventricular assist devices (LVADs), brought in $110.8 million last quarter, accounting for about 86% of Thoratec's total revenue. HeartMate II, the latest version of the tech, saw its sales grow 20% worldwide, Thoratec said, while CentriMag, an extracorporeal blood pump, rose 39% to $35.7 million in sales.

But despite the California devicemaker's revenue gains, a $50.2 million pretax impairment charge related to the lagging PVAD and IVAD devices torpedoed Thoratec's net income, which fell from a $15.3 million gain last year to a $14.4 million loss in Q4. Excluding the one-time charge, Thoratec netted $22.6 million on the quarter.

Looking forward, the company expects HeartMate to keep up the same trajectory, thanks to expanding adoption in the U.S. and a December approval that will get HeartMate II on the market in Japan. Thoratec expects 2013 revenue to clock in at up to $510 million, good for growth of about 4% over last year. Beyond that, the company is plotting pivotal trials for two next-generation HeartMate devices, planning to start enrollment later this year.

Meanwhile, the LVAD leader remains a rumored buyout target, facing pressure from major shareholder Oracle Investment Management to find itself a buyer, and Oracle's Larry Feinberg has said Thoratec would be an "undeniable" fit for Medtronic ($MDT) or St. Jude Medical ($STJ). Things have been quiet on that front since last year, though, and HeartMate's continued success can only push north any potential price tag.

- read Thoratec's results

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