By the numbers:
- Q3 revenue: $1.56 billion
- 11% year-over-year increase
- Q3 earnings per share: $1.19 (non-GAAP)
- Unchanged from Q3 2021
- Q3 net income: $429 million (non-GAAP)
- 1.5% year-over-year decrease
Intuitive Surgery, one of the largest U.S. makers of minimally invasive surgical robots, said surgeries performed by its Da Vinci robot rose 20% in the third quarter as an easing of the pandemic spurred patients to return to operating rooms.
“Our core business strengthened in the quarter as acute pandemic impact softened,” CEO Gary Guthart told investors on Tuesday as the company reported its third-quarter earnings after the markets closed.
Intuitive’s adjusted earnings for the period amounted to $428.5 million, or $1.19 per share.
“[A] 13% growth in the installed base to meet procedure demand accompanied by continued increases in utilization per system per year, [are] healthy indicators for our customers and for us,” Guthart said.
The growing strength of the U.S. dollar against foreign currencies, continuing supply chain issues and soaring inflation reduced the company’s operating margin by about 2 percentage points in the quarter compared to a year earlier, Chief Financial Officer Jamie Samath said on the call.
Intuitive placed 175 systems in the third quarter in the U.S., its largest market. That’s below the 227 systems it placed in the same period last year. Samath attributed the decline to “trade-in transactions and a challenging macroeconomic environment.”
The company placed 130 systems outside the U.S. in the period compared with 109 a year earlier.
“General surgery, our largest procedure category, is growing at the fastest rate of any category, fueled by bariatric surgery, cholecystectomy, hernia repair and other procedures in the United States,” said Guthart. “Overall, our customers are acquiring systems where there is opportunity for procedure growth.”
Some of the increase in procedures is coming from patients who postponed either operations or checkups because of the pandemic, a potentially fatal option, Guthart said.
“It is absolutely clear that there’s been a trough or a bolus of people who stayed out of diagnostic pipelines, and that hasn’t fully recovered. And their disease is progressing. That is also absolutely clear in the literature,” Guthart added.
How many of those will come back into the health system for surgery of any kind, including robotic surgery is “a hard thing to measure,” he said. “But I think there’s a bolus out there, and it’s unfortunate given disease progression.”
Shares in Intuitive rose more than 12% to $218.60 in mid-morning trading on Wednesday.