Oh Baby! Natus Medical Inc. Beats and Raises Guidance

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Natus Medical (NASDAQ: BABY) continues its turnaround, hitting its third-quarter revenue guidance and beating its own expectations for adjusted earnings, which were forecast to be in the range of $0.37 to $0.38 per share.

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Natus Medical results: The raw numbers

Metric

Q3 2017

Q3 2016

Year-Over-Year Change

Revenue

$122.6 million

$90.9 million

34.9%

Income from operations

$8.54 million

$15.24 million

(44%)

Earnings per share (EPS)

($0.26)

$0.40

N/A

Adjusted EPS

$0.40

$0.39

2.6%

What happened with Natus Medical this quarter?

  • Otometrics accounted for almost all of the year-over-year increase in revenue, since it was acquired within the last year. It's contributing to the bottom line, with management expecting adjusted operating profit margin to exceed its goal of 10% for 2017.
  • Revenue from the neurology business was up 4.6%, while revenue from the newborn care business was down 1.4%, as Natus is getting less revenue per newborn from its Peloton hearing-screening business.
  • The hurricanes in Texas and Florida reduced Natus' U.S. revenues by approximately 1%.
  • The sharp decline in income and earnings had to do with a $10.8 million valuation allowance on Natus' U.S. tax assets. GAAP requires that the company reserve against the assets, although Natus thinks it'll be able to use them up within the 20 years before they expire.
  • Adjusted earnings are a better measure of bottom-line growth, and while earnings didn't grow as fast as revenue, that was to be expected given the lower margins at Otometrics, which Natus is working on increasing from breakeven when it was purchased.
  • Natus continues to add products through acquisitions, including neurosurgery business assets from Integra LifeSciences, which closed earlier this month and will start adding to earnings immediately with similar operating margins. Earlier this week, Natus announced a U.S. marketing deal for the Embrace MRI monitoring system, which is used in imaging of newborns. Natus will get a commission of 20% to 25% of the sales price, which it thinks will start rolling in next year.

What management had to say

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While Peloton is generating less revenue per newborn, chief financial officer Jonathan Kennedy shared good news about profits from the business:

"In terms of getting Peloton on track, earlier in the year, Peloton was not profitable, and I'm happy to report that today, we've restructured that, and that business is doing quite well from a margin -- it's actually up above at least the current operating margins."

The Embrace MRI is self-contained, so it can reside in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). CEO Jim Hawkins sees this as a big selling point for hospitals to invest in the machine, which will cost $1 million to $1.5 million depending on the configuration:

Historically, having a neonate get an MRI was near impossible. You would have a scrum of doctors and nurses that would have to transport this critically old [sic] baby at these major hospitals. It could be hundreds and hundreds and even thousands of yards away to the MRI suite. And the risk in doing that was just huge, and the disruption of both the NICU and the radiology MR suite was just so much, so that the vast majority of the time these images weren't taken.

Looking forward

With the acquisition of the Integra LifeSciences assets closing, management increased revenue guidance to a range of $514.5 million to $516.5 million and increased its adjusted earnings guidance to between $1.72 and $1.76 per share. Breaking out the fourth quarter, the guidance has Natus rounding out the year with adjusted earnings of $0.68 to $0.72 per share, a substantial increase over the $0.51 seen in the year-ago quarter.

Looking into next year, in the first quarter, Natus plans to launch the Otoscan, which takes a picture and creates a model of the inner ear to help with hearing-aid fitting. Natus thinks the annual market opportunity for Otoscan is about $200 million, which would be a meaningful increase in revenue, although obviously it will take years to capture that much of the market.

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Brian Orelli has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Natus Medical. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.