Hear hear! Implant milestone for Cochlear with solid results

Hear hear! Implant milestone for Cochlear with solid results

Leading hearing implants business Cochlear (ASX: COH) has enjoyed a solid year, with full-year net profits up 10 per cent.

Thanks to strong demand for its hearing implants, the listed company saw full-year profit rise to $245.8 million, and sales revenue up 9 per cent to $1.35 billion.

Cochlear CEO Dig Howitt says the business' performance and growth in FY18 reflects the company's growth over the last few years.

"We continue to execute on our strategy of investing to retain market leadership and drive market growth," says Howitt.

"Our market leadership position was enhanced by new product launches and improvements in the service offering to our customers.

"The expansion of direct-to-consumer marketing and focus on sales force expansion and effectiveness continued to support overall growth."

"Developed markets continued to perform well with unit growth increasing by 9 per cent. Highlights include strong performances from the US and UK and solid unit growth across much of Western Europe, Australia and Japan. Emerging market units grew by over 15 per cent, with strong growth in the Middle East and the China private pay market."

One major milestone for Cochlear was the launch of its collaborative product with Apple, the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor. This product, the world's first implant made to work with iPhones, was launched during the second quarter of FY18 across the US, Western Europe, and Australia.

In June, the company released an app for Android phones, allowing recipients with Android phones and devices to control their hearing with the Nucleus Smart App.

Also during FY18, the company reached a major milestone of selling their 500,000th implant.

"While a wonderful milestone for the Company, it is also a reminder of the challenge, and opportunity, for Cochlear with fewer than 5 per cent of the people who could benefit from an implantable hearing solution currently being treated," says Howitt.

For FY19, the implant business expects to deliver reported net profit of $265-275 million, an increase of 8-12 per cent on FY18.

"Over the next few years, we have a number of large long-term investment projects including the development of our China manufacturing facility, with the construction phase expected to be complete by the end of FY20, and investments in IT platforms to strengthen our connected health, digital, and cyber security capabilities," says Howitt.

"These projects are expected to increase capital expenditure levels to $80-100 million per annum over the next few years."

Cochlear will pay a final dividend of $1.60 per share, an increase of 20 cents over last year.

Shares in Cochlear are down 6.8 per cent to $185.23 per share at 10.45am AEST.

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