August 23, 2016 / 9:41 AM / 3 years ago

Straumann raises sales growth target after strong first half

ZURICH (Reuters) - Dental implant maker Straumann Holding (STMN.S) on Tuesday raised its sales growth forecast for a second time this year following a strong first half and bought an Indian rival to tap into a fast-growing market.

The Basel-based company reported a 16 percent rise in first-half revenue to 461.2 million Swiss francs ($480.1 million), beating an average 451 million franc forecast in a Thomson Reuters poll.

Its first-half net profit was 134.9 million francs, boosted by a one-off tax asset gain from a merger and easily beating analyst forecasts of 95 million francs.

Straumann shares opened up 2.6 percent following the results release and went on to set an all-time high at 412.75 Swiss francs.

In the three months to the end of June, the company reported a double digit sales rise in all regions and divisions, prompting it to lift its full-year forecasts. Straumann now expects sales growth in the low double-digit percentage range, above the high single-digit figure it said it expected in May.

“Our ambition is to continue to grow significantly stronger than the market,” Chief Executive Marco Gadola said in an interview with Reuters.

Gadola’s assessment was based on increased demand in the under-exploited cheaper dental replacement products. The global dental implant market is growing at about 3 to 4 percent a year.

“Momentum continues to be very strong for Straumann, and we expect this to continue,” Kepler Cheuvreux analyst Maja Pataki wrote in a note.

Straumann also said it had agreed to buy Equinox, a privately-held company in the fast-growing value segment of the Indian dental implant market, to support its growth.

The Swiss company said the deal would help it enter the Indian market, where it said the need for reliable, effective and affordable tooth replacements was huge.

Gadola said the Indian market was growing faster than China, and Straumann would look at rolling out Equinox’s products in the rest of south Asia and potentially Africa in the future.

No financial details of the deal were given.

($1 = 0.9606 Swiss francs)

Reporting by Oliver Hirt, John Revill and Anna Serafin; editing by David Clarke

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