Q4 2012 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 02/26/2013

Stefan Ingildsen - SVP, Finance: I am Stefan Ingildsen, Senior VP Finance. Today the call will follow the usual structure. In the first part we will run through our formal presentation and in the second part we'll have the Q&A session, and we expect the call to last about 50, 55 minutes.

As usual, the Company is represented by President and CEO, Niels Jacobsen. But today we also have the pleasure of having Soren Nielsen with us. Soren is President of Oticon, and he will participate in order to take us through our latest premium product launch, Oticon Alta. With us we also have Soren Andersson, VP, Investor Relations and IR Manager Morten Lehmann Nielsen.

Finally just be aware as stated in the beginning that the presentation will be audio webcast on our website and it will also be, of course, available on the website for replay later on. And I will now handover to Niels.

Niels Jacobsen - President and CEO: Thank you very much, Stefan. And we have an agenda for this presentation. I will jump quickly through that into the first slide about the global hearing aid market in 2012 not significantly different from previous years, slightly less growth. We see 2% to 3% growth in units and this means that we are as the hearing aid industry is now delivering just over 10 million units on an annual basis to the world market.

In U.S. that is the biggest market in the world, we have seen a 3% growth, a little more in the VA than in private market. In Europe unit growth of 2% and that's below historical average. We have seen a number of different countries in Europe with some subsidy changes and changes in the system. We have seen Switzerland. We have seen some of the Scandinavian markets, especially Norway where they have moved from an invoice-at-delivery system to a consignment system and even as consignment system that delays the invoicing significantly.

In the southern Europe we have seen some decreases in sales due to the economic slowdown, but still not any dramatic changes. In the UK, NHS and the private market was above average unit growth.

The more difficult path that is the global development in average selling prices and as average selling prices is a lot of different elements, it is what markets are growing faster and what markets are growing slower. It is also the mix between mid, low, and high-end products. We have seen, as said before, that especially NHS have seen above unit growth and that has a negative impact on ASP, but also due to the – towards the development have been to the end of the product lifecycles that have also given some negative mix changes to the product sold and of course also many manufacturers most of our competitors they have plan to introduce new high-end and these means that’s been fierce competition of before high-end product introduction with the old high-end products. All together but not being too sure about it, because the price path, price element is difficult, we see that value growth in the market has been flat and maybe slightly negative.

Looking at the group structure not a lot of changes we have added Medical Sonic to our hearing device area, we have added MedRx and Micromedical to our diagnostic instruments and that's the basically the change. This is how we see our group a lot of share functions, where the group are working closely together on back office functions and working with the independent brand in what is directed towards the customers and end users.

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