Cochlear reports 60% sales drop in April

Hearing implant manufacturer Cochlear says sales revenue fell by 60 per cent in April after many countries postponed elective surgery to deal with COVID-19.

The Australian has company outlined the sales drop, compared with the same month last year, after many Western governments asked hospitals to prepare for an influx of patients suffering the respiratory illness.

Elective surgeries continued in South Korea, Japan and China.

Hospitals in China resumed these operations in February and in May surgery numbers were close to what they were before the virus, Cochlear says.

Management in March flagged that it expected a significant reduction in cochlear implant surgeries due to the pandemic.

Cochlear’s services division, which accounts for about 30 per cent of revenue, suffered a 30 per cent dive in sales in April.

Many implant recipients were able to access sound processor upgrades remotely but clinic closures delayed others.

Supply chain, manufacturing and repairs were largely unaffected.

Elective surgery has resumed in some countries but Cochlear chief executive Dig Howitt said the pace of recovery was unclear.

He expected children’s surgeries would gain priority.

He said there was still risk and noted Japan and Singapore recently restricted elective surgery due to high infection rates.

Cochlear says it has a strong liquidity position following a $1.1 billion capital raising, completed in April, and a $225 million increase in debt facilities.

Management have reduced non-essential spending, executive fees and suspended hiring until there is a sustained increase in elective surgery.

Cochlear’s shares were trading higher by 0.06 per cent at $181.76 at 1010 AEST.

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