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Biomet sales rise, but slower than expected

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Indiana-based medical device maker Biomet Inc. said Wednesday its sales rose 2 percent in the first quarter, slower than the privately held company had expected.

Biomet's quarterly results are considered an indicator on the state of the orthopedic device industry because it reports results before most of its competitors. The largest publicly traded orthopedic device makers report their results starting next week.

Biomet said its revenue rose to $640.7 million over the three months ended Aug. 31, from $630.1 million a year ago. Excluding the effects of foreign currency exchanges, its revenue improved 3 percent.

The company said its U.S. sales rose 5 percent, to $419.1 million, while European sales fell 11 percent. Its international sales rose 11 percent. Most of Biomet's international sales are made in Canada, South America, Mexico and the Pacific Rim.

President and CEO Jeffrey Binder said its results were hurt by a decline in surgical procedures. Total revenue from sales of reconstructive products rose 3 percent, to $478.4 million, as sales of knee implants rose 4 percent and sales of extremity implants grew 25 percent. Revenue from hip implant devices was unchanged from a year ago, and dental implant sales declined 2 percent.

Biomet said revenue from fixation products slipped 3 percent, to $59.4 million, and spinal device revenue was unchanged at $57.9 million. Sports medicine revenue rose 15 percent.

Biomet said it lost $17.8 million in the quarter, down from $22.8 million a year ago.

Biomet, headquartered in Warsaw, was a publicly traded company until 2007, when it was purchased by a group of private equity firms.

Its publicly traded peers include Zimmer Holdings Inc., Stryker Corp., Wright Medical Group Inc. and Smith & Nephew Inc. Stryker is scheduled to report its third-quarter results on Tuesday, while other companies in the group will make their reports in late October and early November.

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