Cochlear profit drops ahead of release of new device

Cochlear, the world's biggest maker of hearing implants, has experienced a drop in earnings in the second half of this fiscal year.

As the Australian reports, shares in Cochlear have also fallen by more than 14 per cent. The company is hoping for a better performance when it releases a new device that allows users to connect wirelessly to smartphones and iPods.

The next-generation implant, named the Nucleus 6, will be released in some countries this month. The profit drop has been put down to the fact that the market is waiting for its release before making purchases.

Other factors contributing to the drop in profit include the high Australian dollar which has deterred purchases in the US and Europe; and a recall of its faulty CI500-series implant in 2011.

The Business Spectator reports that Cochlear is facing growing competition from the likes of US company Advanced Bionics and Austria’s Med-EL. In addition, Denmark’s William Demant has bought Neurelec, a second-vertically integrated competitor to Cochlear.

Nevertheless, Cochlear chief executive Chris Roberts claimed in an interview that the Nucleus 6 implant feature "game-changing technology".

Because of the necessity for regulatory approvals in different jurisdictions, the device will be released only in South Korea and Canada this month. Approval from European regulators is thought to be imminent, and the US is expected to approve the device later in 2013.