UPDATE 2-Straumann moves to pole position in dental implants

* H1 profit down 3 pct to 82 mln Swiss francs

* Meets average estimate of 82.1 mln Sfr in Reuters poll

* Confirms full-year guidance

* Shares rise 4.3 percent

(Adds detail, background, shares, analyst comment)

By Katie Reid

ZURICH, Aug 19 (BestGrowthStock) – Switzerland’s Straumann (STMN.S: )
has replaced Nobel Biocare (NOBN.VX: ) at the top of the global
dental implants market after more dentists opted for its
products during the first half.

Straumann’s first-half revenue rose 4.2 percent to 392
million Swiss francs ($375.5 million), putting the bite on Nobel
Biocare, which posted a 6.3 percent revenue fall as Straumann
stole a march in key markets such as the United States.

The dental implant market is showing signs of recovery, with
key players such as Zimmer (ZMH.N: ) and Biomet [LVBHAB.UL] also
reporting more patients opting for the non-urgent treatments
they put off during the financial crisis. [ID:nN22258939]

Nobel Biocare’s quarterly results last week showed it failed
to take advantage of this trend and looked set to lag the market
over the next months, as patients hesitated about its more
complicated and costly procedures. [ID:nLDE67904Q]

At 0856 GMT, Straumann shares were up 4.3 percent at 246.50
Swiss francs, going some way to reverse the 19 percent lost so
far this year and easily outperforming the European healthcare
sector. (.SXDP: ).

OUTPACING THE MARKET

First-half net profit at Straumann slipped 3 percent to 82
million Swiss francs ($78.69 million), meeting the average
estimate in a Reuters poll.

Straumann is striving to outperform the market this year and
is aiming for full-year net revenue and an operating margin at
least in line with the prior year.

The group expects the market will grow in the
low-single-digit range in 2010, but it does not see it returning
to double-digit growth before 2012.

“We think Straumann should continue to outgrow the market in
the second half driven by strong product momentum, including the
launch of its Roxolid implant, the ongoing roll-out of its
bone-level implant in the US, and as it expands sales with
new accounts won during the recession,” analysts at Bank of
America Merrill Lynch said in a note.

Most analysts view the industry’s long-term prospects as
bright, thanks to ageing populations in Europe and the United
States as well as an increased awareness of the cosmetic
advantages of implants and veneers.

Straumann is currently trading at around 19.6 times 2011
earnings, at a premium to Nobel Biocare at nearly 15 times.
(Editing by David Cowell)

($1=1.042 Swiss Franc)

UPDATE 2-Straumann moves to pole position in dental implants