Nobel Biocare Q1 profit dips, submits bid for Astra Tech

Switzerland's Nobel Biocare Holding says Q1 profit fell 67 percent versus the same period last year; however, it still wants to buy AstraZeneca's Astra Tech dental implant business. According to its financial statement, Nobel's net profit dropped to €12.9 million ($19.2 million) from €38.7 million ($57.5 million) during the same period 2010.

The company did see a big change during the quarter. Richard Laube took over the position as CEO April 1. As the company notes, Laube converted the OTC business of F. Hoffmann La Roche into an independent unit, and most recently, as CEO of Nestlé's Nutrition division, more than doubled the business through acquisitions and organic growth.

Nobel has had three CEOs since 2007 and had been considered a takeover target over the last year, as Bloomberg notes. And even last week, there were rumors that Medtronic was interested in the company, Reuters reports. The company declined to comment on these rumors. Besides, the company is growing again, according to CFO Dirk Kirsten; the company did report revenue of €143.5 million versus €136.7 million during the same period last year.

Furthermore, the company has pointed out that its overall performance in the Asia-Pacific region was adversely affected by the natural disasters in Japan. Revenue in the first quarter was down 4.8 percent to €28.3 million. Japan accounts for about two-thirds of the regional revenue, according to the company.

Nobel also said it is interested in AstraZeneca's Astra Tech unit. Kirsten said Nobel submitted a non-binding bid for Astra Tech, according to Bloomberg. Last month, AstraZeneca began a £1.3 billion ($2.1 billion) auction of Astra Tech. Bids have been submitted by more than 10 companies. Private equity firms Bridgepoint, Cinven of Britain and France's PAI Partners have made offers, as well as Warburg Pincus and trade buyer Zimmer Holdings. Some bidders are looking to buy only the dental implants unit while others want the medical devices operation.

- check out the company's financial report
- get more from Bloomberg
- read the Reuters story

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