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Greatbatch rebounds to profitability

Greatbatch, the medical device and pacemaker battery maker, reported profits of $9.8 million in the fourth quarter, rebounding from a $5.6 million loss a year ago.

The company’s diluted earnings per share improved to 38 cents, up from a 23-cent loss a year ago. But it was still below analysts’ expectations of 42 cents. The company recorded an 11 percent increase in quarterly sales, to $177 million.

For all of 2013, Greatbatch reported sales of $664 million, up 3 percent from a year ago, and profits of $36 million, or $1.43 per share, compared with a loss of $4.8 million, or 20 cents per share, loss a year ago.

Last year’s results were dragged down by the cost of shutting two troubled factories in Switzerland.

Thomas J. Hook, president and chief executive officer, said Greatbatch finished 2013 in line with the company’s revenue and earnings expectations.

Hook said the company also made “significant progress” last year on some long-term objectives, including filing for premarket approval for its spinal cord stimulation system to treat chronic intractable pain of the trunk or limbs. Greatbatch last month applied for CE Mark approval for the system in order to meet European Union requirements for manufacturers.

Greatbatch is now reporting its financial results in two operating segments: Greatbatch Medical and QiG, which Greatbatch says focuses on developing medical device systems for “some of health care’s most pressing challenges.” In the fourth quarter, Greatbatch Medical accounted for $176 million in sales, while QiG accounted for $886,000.

The leading product line for Greatbatch Medical was cardiac/neuromodulation, accounting for 49 percent of the segment’s sales. The company said it expects that product line will continue to grow “faster than the underlying market,” due to a combination of new product development opportunities with its cardiac customers, along with increased sales and marketing resources.

Hook said the company’s intellectual property portfolio continues to expand, and that one third of the portfolio represents medical device patents.

Greatbatch moved its corporate headquarters from Clarence to Texas in summer 2012, but it continues to employ 690 people in the Buffalo Niagara region, at two facilities in Clarence and one in Alden.

Greatbatch’s stock closed at $42.93 per share, up 47 cents, on Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange.