Acuson and ATL release quarterlies that show shifting market positions


Acuson trumpets profitability despite sales dropUltrasound rivals Acuson and ATL last month posted financial resultsfor the third quarter (end-September) that showed each company'srevenue numbers heading in opposite directions. Acuson, of

Acuson trumpets profitability despite sales drop

Ultrasound rivals Acuson and ATL last month posted financial resultsfor the third quarter (end-September) that showed each company'srevenue numbers heading in opposite directions. Acuson, of MountainView, CA, experienced a 13% drop in sales, while ATL, of Bothell,WA, enjoyed an 8% revenue increase.

ATL reported revenues for the quarter of $94.7 million, comparedto $87.3 million in the same period last year. The company hada net loss for the period of $742,000 compared to a net loss of$4.8 million in the third quarter of 1994.

Much of ATL's net loss was due to restructuring charges relatedto its acquisition of Interspec last year. ATL took a $1.8 millioncharge for the consolidation in the most recent quarter. Withoutthe charges, ATL would have reported net income of $1.1 million.

Acuson saw sales slump to $75.4 million for the third quarter,down from $86.4 million in the same period a year ago. The companymaintained profitability, however, with net income of $1.9 million,compared to net income of $3.7 million in the same period lastyear.

ATL's growth is due to the success of the company's HDI 3000platform, which was introduced in the fourth quarter of 1994 (SCAN10/26/94). The company believes it is gaining share in a U.S.ultrasound market that remains flat, according to chairman andCEO Dennis Fill.

"HDI 3000 is doing very well and it is clear that we aregaining market share in the general imaging market," Fillsaid.

"We've gone up at least two to three points (in market share),maybe higher."

Given the third-quarter results, it would be easy to assumethat ATL is taking that share from Acuson. Acuson officials, however,say they are maintaining their market share and that the companyoverall is satisfied with its results, in particular its net incomenumbers.

"We continue to make a profit in a very tough environment,"said Dan Dugan, senior vice president of sales, service and marketing.

Acuson's revenue figures compare poorly to those of last yearbecause at that time Acuson had a large order backlog that resultedin higher than normal revenues. This year, Acuson has been pleasedwith its order results, which indicate that it has not lost marketshare.

"The way the market is these days, sometimes order resultsare not reflective of what you are doing with revenue," Dugansaid. "

We were really satisfied with our order results for the thirdquarter and throughout the year."

The financial markets may also have been satisfied with Acuson'sfigures. Despite the sales slump, Acuson's stock saw no dramaticmovements after its results were released.

Both companies agreed that the U.S. ultrasound market shows nosigns of rebounding in the near future.

"The U.S. market is probably not much better than flat atthe present time, particularly in general imaging," Fillsaid. "

We feel very good about ultrasound's prospects in the years ahead.There is no doubt it will come through very well. But I thinkthat is a year or so away."

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