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Cochlear's latest implant well received

 

Hearing implant developer Cochlear says its Nucleus 7 sound processor, the world's first to be designed to work with the iPhone, has been well received in major markets including the United States.

Cochlear chief executive Dig Howitt says the launch of the Nucleus 7 was the company's most important achievement in the first half of the current financial year.

The product streams sound directly from iPhones, iPads and iPods, enabling people with hearing loss to make phone calls, FaceTime calls, and listen to music in high quality stereo sound.

"That launch has gone as planned and on time and in line with our expectations, and the feedback on that product has been excellent," Mr Howitt said on Tuesday.

Cochlear said it had increased its market share with the launch of the Nucleus 7 in the US, western Europe and Australia in the second quarter of the financial year.

The company's net profit for the six months to December 31 fell one per cent from a year earlier to $110.8 million, partly due to a $5.5 million hit from a revaluation of deferred tax assets, and the timing of a large Chinese tender.

The full-year impact of tax changes in the US will be reduced by a lower corporate tax rate, Cochlear said.

It sold 15,972 implant units in the six months to December, down two per cent from a year earlier, due to changes in the timing of some tenders in China and India. "Through everything that we can see this is about timing of tenders and not loss of market share," Mr Howitt said.

Cochlear fulfilled a Chinese central government tender for 1,100 units in the first half of the 2016/17 financial year, and will begin shipping 1,491 China tender units awarded in October 2017 in the second half of the current financial year.

Excluding those changes, unit sales were up five per cent.

Cochlear said a highlight of its first-half results was a 12 per cent lift in unit sales in developed markets, with the US being the standout.

Mr Howitt said hearing solutions for adults and seniors in developed countries would be a significant growth opportunity over the next five to 10 years.

Cochlear has maintained its forecast of a full-year profit in the range of $240 million to $250 million, up from $224 million in 2016/17.

Shares in Cochlear dropped five cents to $171.74.

US TAX CHANGES, CHINA TENDER TIMING CRIMP COCHLEAR'S PROFIT

* First-half net profit down 1pct to $110.8m

* Sales revenue up 6pct to $639.6m

* Interim dividend up 10 cents to $1.40 per share, fully franked