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Ultrasound vendors post mixed results

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Ultrasound industry analystslooking for signs of a turnaround in the modality may have togo back to reading tea leaves, at least for the time being. Twoclosely watched modality leaders, Acuson and ATL, released a mixedbag of second-quarter financial

Ultrasound industry analystslooking for signs of a turnaround in the modality may have togo back to reading tea leaves, at least for the time being. Twoclosely watched modality leaders, Acuson and ATL, released a mixedbag of second-quarter financial results last month, with Acusonshowing improving fortunes while ATL's numbers remain mired.

Acuson of Mountain View, CA, posted the second consecutivequarter of surprisingly strong revenue and earnings growth. Acuson'ssales increased 22% in the quarter, to $88 million from $72.1million in the same period last year. Net income also jumped,to $4.1 million this year compared to a net loss of $6.7 millionin the second quarter of 1993. Last year's loss included a $12million charge for restructuring (SCAN 6/16/93).

Bothell, WA-based ATL, meanwhile, suffered from lower salesas well as the costs of its merger with Interspec earlier thisyear. ATL's second-quarter revenues were $84.8 million, down about5% compared to $89.2 million recorded a year ago (current andhistorical results include those of Interspec).

ATL reported a net loss for the quarter of $9.9 million, comparedto a loss of $1.6 million in the same period last year. This year'snumbers include a charge against earnings of $5.4 million forcosts associated with the Interspec merger.

While the numbers look good for Acuson, the company is stillcautious about whether the market is returning to the prosperousdays of yore.

"It is very hard to assess what the status of the marketis," said Acuson COO Robert Gallagher. "We continueto be very optimistic in the long term for ultrasound, but topick the exact turning point is hard."

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