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October 22, 2002

Cochlear predicts EPS leap

From: The Australian, Australia
Oct. 22, 2002

COCHLEAR earnings per share (EPS) could rise by 40 per cent in the first half, the bionic ear-maker's chairman David Penington said today.

Professor Penington said he could confirm the long-term growth trend of 20 per cent growth in system sales year on year is secure, with a concomitant rise of 25 per cent in earnings per share.

He said the group's latest projections was that it should gain about 300 incremental systems this year with the bulk coming in the first half.

"We predict an increase in earnings per share of more than 40 per cent in the first half," he told shareholders at Cochlear's annual general meeting.

"It is still early but earnings for the full year could be of the same order."

Professor Penington said the group remained confident that it would gain a positive incremental one off impact from ABC's withdrawal from the market.

However he said it was too early to quantify the size of the benefit.

Advanced Bionics was forced to retract its latest hearing device from the US market earlier this year after the US Food and Drug Administration warned that cochlear implant recipients could be at greater risk of contracting meningitis.

Professor Penington said Cochlear's Esprit 3G "behind the ear" processor had been a great success since its launch this year and the group was confident in the continuing growth of its program for that product.

The company was working on reducing the size of the implant device currently.

Professor Penington also told shareholders that the company was starting to review whether to keep its executive share options scheme.

He said alternatives to options would be considered in the next review of compensation.

© The Australian