St. Jude Medical ($STJ) took a major hit to its cardiac rhythm management business last year, headlined by an 11% drop in pacemaker sales and a 4% slip for ICDs. CRM is St. Jude's largest division, and its continued flagging contributed to a company-wide 2% drop in sales, but St. Jude is still bullish it can turn things around in 2013.
The company hasn't released its expected revenue for the year, but St. Jude is projecting earnings growth of up to 45%, reflecting its confidence in its business units and its commitment to slashing spending. The Minnesota devicemaker has cut thousands of jobs over the past year in an effort to get back in the black.
But any rosy picture of 2013 hangs on the fate of St. Jude's most talked-about offering: Durata ICD leads. The company has been steadfast in asserting that the wires don't fall prey to the same flaw that got Riata, their predecessor, recalled. Some analysts speculate the same fate is in store for Durata, and a study sponsored by rival Medtronic ($MDT) called into question the leads' survival rates, but St. Jude remains confident in its devices.
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