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Modest gains disappoint Nobel investors

Swiss dental implant maker Nobel Biocare posted weaker-than-expected results for 2007, causing shares in the company to continue their nine-month slide.

This content was published on February 11, 2008 - 11:39

The Zurich-based firm on Monday reported a net profit of €166 million (SFr266 million) on sales worth €665.9 million – a margin of 25 per cent – but this fell below what analysts had hoped for.

"This curious set of results will hardly make investors smile and dig holes in the share price," said Swiss bank Wegelin & Co.

Fears of a weakening US market and talk of a recession have caused shares in the world's largest dental implant maker to drop 40 per cent from their yearly high. On Monday morning shares were down seven per cent over Friday's close.

For its part, Nobel has blamed its 2007 shortfall on poor sales in Europe and fluctuations in international currencies. It said it was aiming higher for 2008.

"I expect an acceleration [of sales growth] in Europe as well as in the US," said company chief executive Domenico Scala.

Nobel Biocare said that overall sales growth should increase by the middle of this year and that its operating margin should rise to around 34 per cent.

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