Nobel Biocare Holding’s profit declines by 2.8 percent

The world’s largest maker of dental implants, Nobel Biocare Holding AG, reported a 2.8 percent decline in fourth-quarter profit as in the U.S. and Europe slowed.

The Glattburg, Switzerland-based company said today that net income fell to 45.1 million euros ($65.7 million) from 46.4 million euros a year earlier. Revenue grew from 5.4 percent to 180.9 million euros.

The Swiss company said in October that growth in the U.S. had slowed. In North America sales growth fell to 0.8 percent in the forth quarter from 6.6. in the third.

Domenico Scala, former Syngenta AG executive, said on a conference call today that Nobel Biocare ``may have lost a bit'' of market share in the U.S.

Nobel Biocare's net income for the full year increased 7.8 percent to 166.2 million euros, ta the same time revenue in currencies of the markets in which it sells increased 15 percent, though in October it predicted 17 percent growth.

As for earnings before interest and tax, or EBIT, as a percentage of sales it was about 33 percent, as it was expected. For 2008, the Swiss company hopes for the sales growth in the mid-teens and an EBIT as a percentage of sales of about 36 percent.

Nobel Biocare is a company operating in dental implantology and aesthetic dental solutions. The headquarters are located in Zurich and Gothenburg. The company was founded as Nobelpharma in 1981 and renamed Nobel Biocare in 1996.

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