Alcon reported a net rise in sales and earnings in the 4th quarter, despite one-off charges related to the recent acquisition last November of a 77.4 percent stake in WaveLight, the German manufacturer of refractive lenses. The group generated $1,469.7 million in revenues in the quarter – up by 20 percent compared with the year-ago period, or by 12.8 percent if adjusted for currency fluctuations and the acquisition of WaveLight, which contributed sales of $15.1 for the period.
Net profit in the quarter rose to $376.5 million, compared with $354.7 million in the same period of the previous year. Without a $16.8 million after-tax loss related to the acquisition and the ensuing integration of WaveLight, earnings were up by 10.9 percent and came to $393.3 million.
The group’s sales of consumer eye care product increased by 14.5 percent to $190.7 million in the quarter, or by 8.9 percent on a constant currency basis. Global market share was gained in the area of disinfectant solutions for contact lenses, whose sales rose by 13.6 percent to $104.7 million.
The gross profit margin declined by 0.8 percentage points in the period, reflecting an unfavorable geographic mix. Operating income increased by 21.5 percent to $477.4 million because of strong sales and exchange impacts.
Similar increases were recorded for the full year. Earnings were up by 17.7 percent to $1,586.4 million on 14.4 percent higher consolidated sales of $5,599.6 million. After adjustments for currency fluctuations, sales grew by only 10.7 percent. Excluding acquisition costs, earnings came to $1,627.4 million, 21.2 percent more than in the previous year.
Alcon’s board of directors has approved a $1.1 billion scheme to buy back shares from Nestlé, its majority stakeholder. Joe Weller, a member of the board, is leaving the company for personal reasons in May, and he is set to be replaced by Paul Bulcke, executive vice president of the Nestlé group, at Alcon’s annual meeting next Apr. 10.