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Executives

Timothy Ring - Chairman and CEO

Todd Schermerhorn - SVP and CFO

John Weiland - President and COO

John DeFord - SVP-Science, Technology and Clinical Affairs

Analysts

Miroslava Minkova - Leerink Swann

Taylor Harris - JPMorgan

Mimi Pham - JMP Securities

Matthew Dodds - Citigroup

Bob Hopkins - Bank of America

Joanne Wuensch - BMO Capital Markets

Kristen Stewart - Credit Suisse

Greg Simpson - Stifel Nicolaus

Christopher Warren - Caris & Company

David Bachman - Longbow Research

Jayson Bedford - Raymond James

Brooks West - Craig-Hallum Capital

C.R. Bard, Inc. (BCR) Q4 2008 Earnings Call January 29, 2009 5:00 PM ET

Operator

Welcome to the C.R. Bard, Incorporated fourth quarter 2008 earnings results conference call. (Operator Instructions).

Today's presentation will be hosted by Timothy M. Ring, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; along with John H. Weiland, President and Chief Operating Officer; and Todd C. Schermerhorn, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Also in attendance today are John A. DeFord, Senior Vice President, Science, Technology and Clinical Affairs; and Eric J. Shick, Vice President, Investor Relations.

Today, Bard's management will discuss some forward-looking statements, the accuracy of which are necessarily subject to risks and uncertainties. Please refer to the cautionary statement regarding forward-looking information in Bard's September 30th, 2008, 10-Q and the information under the caption Risk Factors in the company's 2007 10-K, including disclosure of the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied.

During the call, references will be made to certain non-GAAP measures, which management believes provide an additional and meaningful assessment of the core operating performance of the company and its individual product franchises. Reconciliations of non-GAAP measures to the most comparable GAAP measures are provided in Bard's earnings press release and on the company's website at www.crbard.com. All information that is not historical is given only as of January 29th, 2009, and the company undertakes no responsibility to update any information. Unless otherwise noted, all comparisons are to the prior-year period.

At this time, I will turn the call over to Mr. Timothy Ring. Please go ahead, sir.

Timothy Ring

Thanks, Cathy. I'd like to welcome everybody to Bard's fourth quarter 2008 earnings call and thank you all for taking the time to join us today. We would expect that the formal presentation portion of the call will last around 25 minutes.

The agenda today will be as follows. I'll begin with an overview of the fourth quarter results for 2008. John Weiland, our President and COO, will review fourth quarter product line revenue. Todd Schermerhorn, our Senior VP and CFO, will review the fourth quarter income statement and balance sheet as well as our expectations for the first quarter of this year.

Since we just covered our product development pipeline in depth at our December 18th Analyst Meeting, we'll wait giving update on that at our first quarter earnings call. And, then finally, we'll close with Q&A.

Looking at the fourth quarter, net sales totaled $634.2 million. This represents an increase over the fourth quarter of 2007 of 9% on an as-reported basis and 12% on a constant currency basis. Currency impact for the quarter versus the same quarter of '07 was unfavorable by around 300 basis points. Our net sales for the full year 2008 were $2.4521 billion, an increase of 11% on as-reported basis and 10% on a constant currency basis.

Net income for the fourth quarter of 2008 was $149.4 million and diluted EPS were $1.47. Excluding an item that affected the comparability of results between periods, fourth quarter 2008 net income and diluted EPS were $121.1 million and $1.19, up 15% and 18% respectively over the prior-year period. Todd will cover the Q4 2008 item when he discusses the income statement in a few minutes.

For the full year 2008, net income was $416.5 million and the diluted EPS were $4.06. Again, adjusting for items that affect comparability between periods, for the full year 2008, net income was $455.4 million and diluted EPS were $4.44, up 13% and 16% respectively over full year 2007 results.

Now looking at the revenue growth geographically, again, on a constant currency basis, fourth quarter net sales in the US were up 11%. Europe grew at 14%. Japan increased 13%. And our other international businesses grew 15%. We were very pleased with the strong results across all of the geographies this past quarter.

Now looking at our four major businesses, in the fourth quarter, our vascular, urology and oncology businesses each delivered strong growth over the prior-year period. Our urology business did benefit from the impact of accelerated dealer purchasing in advance of price increases that occurred January 1st of 2009. We estimate that these purchases may be a just a little under 1% to the company's total constant currency revenue growth for the quarter. We do expect some offset in correction in dealer inventory levels that one factors the other way this quarter. Todd will discuss that in more detail in a couple of minutes.

Looking at our surgery business, it increased 1% in constant currency over the prior-year quarter against a substantially more challenging comp than we had in the third quarter. And John will give you more details of that when he goes to the product revenue review in a couple of minutes.

On the business development front, we continue to pursue a number of opportunities, but we didn't close any transactions this past quarter. We acknowledge, whether it's the potential for better deal price in the market given the current economy, we won't make an acquisition simply because it's a Bard way. We continue to maintain our discipline and we look at long-term revenue growth potential through value-added acquisitions.

Just a brief summary and I'll conclude it at the end of the session. We are pleased to conclude another very successful quarter and a year. Our ability to deliver double-digit constant currency revenue growth, even though our surgical business was flat for the year, reflects the strategic benefit of a strong diverse product portfolio.

We've built a consistent record of performance, delivering adjusted EPS growth above our target of 14% for now six consecutive years. We've achieved it through product innovation, commitment to market leadership, diligent investment in our business and the talent and hard work of our employees all around the world. As we enter 2009, the consistent execution of our strategy along with our solid financial fundamentals position us well for further success during these challenging economic times.

Let me turn you over to John Weiland for an overview of the product lines

John Weiland

Good evening, everyone. Let me preface my comments by noting that I'll be giving all percentage growth data in comparison to the prior-year period on a constant currency basis, unless specifically noted otherwise.

So let's begin with our vascular business. Total net sales for the fourth quarter in this category were $168.5 million, increasing 23% over the last year. The increase was 19% on as-reported basis. Our US business, which represents 53% of global vascular revenue, was up 22% for the quarter. Internationally, we grew 25%.

Our electrophysiology business grew 14% for the quarter. Our steerable diagnostic catheters, standard ablation catheters, 8-bit product line, and LabSystem businesses all grew double digits for the quarter with 8-bit leading the way at 42% growth.

Graft product sales, which represented 14% of the vascular category, were up 5% this quarter, primarily due to the weaker comp in OEM sales within the category. Our endovascular business had a very strong performance, growing 32% in the fourth quarter. Our biopsy product line was up 10% with our VACORA vacuum-assisted device up 14% and our breast biopsy market line up 23%.

Sales in our peripheral PTA line increased 34%. Our Dorado 5 French standard PTA catheter line continues to be the primary growth driver here. With the success of Dorado building on our leadership positions in the high pressure and large diameter segments, we have moved into the number two position in the total peripheral PTA market. Looking ahead, we believe our technology platform affords us the opportunity to take further share in this space.

Growth in our vena cava filter line accelerated to 30% this quarter versus the prior-year period, augmented by our new G2 EXPRESS Filter launched in the third quarter. Our continued growth is driven by the strong clinical performance of our differentiated technology, which should translate into further market penetration going forward.

Our stent business grew 57% in the fourth quarter. The acceleration in growth here resulted largely from the PMA approval and launch of our FLAIR AV access stent graft in October '08. We saw some robust stocking orders following approval. So the initial reception has been quite good. We also continue to see nice sequential growth with LifeStent in Europe.

Last week at the ISET meeting in Miami, Dr. Barry Katzen presented the update on the LifeStent RESILIENT clinical study of 206 patients randomized to PTA plus LifeStent versus PTA only. In 24 months, the LifeStent arm demonstrated a 78% freedom from target lesion revascularization versus 42% in the PTA-only arm. This result is highly statistically significant and demonstrates a very durable clinical result. The fracture rate at 18 months was also quite low at 3.8%. The December PMA approval of an iliac indication for E.LUMINEXX stent should strengthen this franchise further as we move into 2009.

In late December, the FDA also issued an approvable letter for an SFA indication for LifeStent. We continue to anticipate receiving PMA approval by late Q1 or possibly Q2 this year.

We've talked a lot about the value of having peripheral vascular stent approvals in the US and have been investing here for years. We're now starting to see results of that work impact our growth rates, and we remain very optimistic about the contribution our stent line should have on our vascular business.

Let's now focus on urology. Total net sales were $188.9 million, an increase of 10% over the fourth quarter of last year or 7% on as-reported basis. The United States business grew 11%. Internationally, we grew 9%.

Standalone sales of our StatLock catheter stabilization line increased 46%. The accelerated dealer purchases Tim mentioned were most prevalent in this line. Netting out the impact of the various moving parts here, we estimate StatLock's percentage growth and organic demand was in the 25% to 30% range for the fourth quarter.

Before I move on, let me note that with the recent expansion of our StatLock dedicated sales force in Europe, we saw 46% growth in that geography in the fourth quarter. Keep in mind that we are really just getting started here and working from a relatively small sales base, but we are pleased what we are seeing thus far.

Our basic drainage business grew 9% in the fourth quarter Our Bardex I.C. infection control catheter line was up 14%. We also had good growth in our much smaller intermittent catheter line due to a CMS reimbursement change that subsequently increased the number of intermittent catheters covered per month from a reimbursement standpoint.

Our overall continence business, which represents 13% of the urology category, was down 5% in the fourth quarter. As we noted last quarter, our continence business was up against tough comps from Q3 and Q4 of last year when the launch of our Align sling and Avaulta Plus and Solo products drove roughly 15% sequential growth in each of those two quarters in '07.

Fourth quarter sales in our overall continence business were also impacted by a 13% decline in sales of our Contigen injectable bulking product. This line has been in decline for some time due to the continuing shift away from bulking procedures within the market.

At our December Analyst Meeting, we discussed the recent launch of our new DigniCare. People in continence line are pleased to know that we are receiving positive early clinical feedback, which is resulting in some good initial stocking orders.

Sales in urological specialties were up 2% versus the fourth quarter of 2007. Brachytherapy sales, which are roughly 45% of this category, decreased 11% for the quarter. In the United States, brachy was down 21% as the market continues to lose procedures to competitive therapies, including IMRT and robotic surgery. The smaller OUS business, which is primarily in Europe, increased 17%.

Turning to Agento I.C., we've covered the details of the clinical impact, market dynamics and the rollout process at some length at our Analyst Meeting in December and on previous calls. So we're not going to cover that again today except to say that we continue to work the process and are gaining momentum in the market.

Let's now talk about our oncology business. So the net sales in this category were $163.6 million, an increase of 13% over the fourth quarter of 2007 or 11% on an as-reported basis. Geographically, net sales in the United States, which represented 77% of the total oncology revenue, were up 15%. Outside of United States, we grew 7%.

Our port line grew 19% in the fourth quarter, primarily driven by strong growth in our M.R.I. in the intermediate-sized PowerPort and Safety-Winged Infusion Sets. Our new M.R.I. isp PowerPort continues to perceive positive clinical feedback and has the potential to become the largest selling, most popular port on the market.

Our PICC and midline products grew 20% in the fourth quarter, led by our PowerPICC SOLO and our SHERLOCK Tip Location System. Both of these differentiated technologies enjoy substantial clinical acceptance. Hospitals are embracing these innovative products, not only for their favorable clinical outcomes, but also they reduce overall procedural costs.

Our vascular access ultrasound product line was roughly flat for the fourth quarter, up against the strongest comp this year. About 20% of the revenue from this business is capital equipment based. So we could be seeing some impact from tightened capital budgets at the hospital level, though the overall impact on us is very minor.

And let's wrap up finally with our surgical specialties business. Global net sales increased 1% in the fourth quarter to $95.5 million, down 1% on an as-reported basis. United States sales declined 2%; while internationally, sales increased 10%.

Our soft tissue repair business declined 3%. And as we noted on our Q3 call, the expected growth will be more difficult in Q4 due primarily to a large fixation comp in the prior-year quarter. Our natural tissue hernia products were 46% on another very strong performance by our AlloMax human tissue device. Our new CollaMend FM device has received 5-10(k) concurrence. And we will begin its formal rollout following our sales force training, which is occurring this very week.

Our overall synthetic hernia category was flat for the quarter with our ventral products showing modest growth and our groin products posting a modest decline. As we discussed in our Analyst Meeting, in the fourth quarter, we began to roll out Ventrio, our new resorbable ring, self-deploying ventral hernia repair patch. The device is off to a good start and is receiving a strong clinical response. Also, in synthetic ventral products, we continue to see nice sequential growth in our Sepramesh sales.

Groin and hernia product sales declined 6% against the very tough comp in Q4 last year, although sales did increase sequentially by 15% in constant currency over the third quarter. Our fixation line decreased 53% due to the tough comp in the prior-year quarter and the discontinuation of Salute II earlier this year. With a planned launch of our new resorbable fix device around the end of Q1 of 2009, we expect to see the fixation category results improve and begin contributing to growth in our hernia business.

Closing the surgical category, our performance irrigation business, which represented 22% of the surgical category in Q4, was up 19% as we continue to benefit here from the supply challenges affecting the irrigation line of one of our competitors. And finally, in Q4, our hemostasis business was flat.

This concludes our product line revenue discussion. I'll now turn you over to Todd Schermerhorn.

Todd Schermerhorn

Thanks, John. Let's start with the income statement for the quarter. As Tim, noted we had an item in Q4 that affected comparability between the quarters. This item benefited our income tax provision and reduced our tax accruals related to prior tax positions as a result of the completion of an IRS allotted for the years 2003 and 2004. The effect of this item increased diluted EPS by $0.28.

Gross profit was 61.6% of sales for Q4, up 60 basis points from the prior-year quarter and up 40 basis points sequentially from Q3, which is in line with our comments on last quarter's call. New amortization of intangibles relating to transactions closed in the last 12 months cost us about 40 basis points year-over-year. Manufacturing cost savings continues to drive much of the momentum here.

SG&A expenses were $179.2 million for the quarter or 28.3% of sales, reflecting an 80 basis point improvement over the prior year's quarter. Virtually all of that improvement came from leveraging our admin costs. Selling and marketing as a percent of sales were actually up a little bit year-over-year.

R&D expenditures totaled $40 million for the fourth quarter, 6.3% of sales. This is the first time we've ever broken through the $40 million mark for organic investment in a quarter. Interest expense was $3 million for the fourth quarter, down $100,000 from the prior year.

Other income expense was $2.7 million of expense for the fourth quarter versus 7.2 million of income in the prior-year quarter. $8.6 million of that 9.9 difference is due to the interest income and foreign exchange. The interest income change is entirely rate driven, as average cash balances were actually above the prior-year levels.

Tax rate recorded for the quarter was 9.9%. On an adjusted basis, excluding the items discussed a minute ago, the rate was 27% even. The improvement this quarter reflects a year-to-date catch-up adjustment for the recently reenacted R&D tax credit and in adjustment for the current year impact of items associated with the completion of the '03, '04 IRS audit. On an adjusted basis, this brings us to a full year effective tax rate at 28.9%.

We didn't repurchase any shares of the company stock this past quarter. Going forward, we'll be buyers of our stock as our cash balances and market conditions permit.

So to wrap up the year, let me just summarize our performance versus the guidance we provided in December of '07, all on an adjusted basis. We told you to expect a minimum of 10% constant currency sales growth at that time for 2008. We achieved 10.2%. We told you to expect some improvement in gross profit despite about 60 basis points of new amortization. We actually improved an additional 60 basis points on top of 50 basis points of new amortizations, 110 points in total.

We told you to expect slight leverage in SG&A. We achieved 40 basis points of improvement. We told you to expect R&D between 6% and 7%. We invested 6.1%. We forecasted 100 basis points improvement in the tax rate. We actually improved 130 basis points. And finally, we told you to expect a minimum of 14% EPS growth. As we have for the past six years and as we have for each of those years, we have met or exceeded that objective, delivering 16.2% growth in 2008.

So, not only did we exceed our overall objectives, we did it neatly in virtually every P&L metric that we provide guidance for and with steady evenly paced improvement quarter-by-quarter.

I make that point because 2009 has the potential to be less even. We do continue to believe in our 2009 bottomline growth guidance of 14%. However, the volatility in foreign exchange doesn't appear to be easy. That volatility complicates our financial planning and leaves us with at least a potential for some volatility in our quarter-by-quarter results.

We still have our eyes swirling on the 14% EPS annual growth target, and we'll still be going about our business with the same commitment and discipline and nimbleness that we've shown in the past, but we do recognize the potential for some unevenness within the year and so have you.

Balance sheet at December 31 reflects cash and short-term investments of $592.1 million versus $535.6 million at September 30, 2008. For the quarter, accounts receivable days were down 0.4 days and inventories days were down 10.8 days. Capital expenditures totaled $15.2 million for the quarter, bringing us to a little over $50 million for the year, just under our guidance.

On the liability side, total debt was $149.8 million as of December 31 with no change from September 30. Debt-to-total cap at the end of the fourth quarter was about 7% and total shareholder investment was $1.977 billion at December 31.

Moving on to financial guidance for Q1, we'd expect to achieve constant currency net sales growth between 9% and 10% for the first quarter, reduced from our typical double-digit guidance by the small timing issue in our urology business that John spoke about a minute ago.

From EPS standpoint, we're going to need you to adjust to 2008 and 2009 models for a very slight change in our accounting. We will be subject to new accounting regulations under FSP EITF 03-6-1 for what's called the two-class EPS method. We have restricted stock grants that include non-profitable rights to receive dividends, and that catches us from this new requirement.

The new GAAP changes the diluted share calculation essentially, but the impact of all this is really just rounding. The net effect is that it looks likes adjusted 2008 first, third and fourth quarters will now be rounded down to 105, 109 and 118 and that our full year comp will be 442 moving forward. It doesn't change our forward guidance. It's still 14% EPS growth. And we will be using this new method going forward. So the comparisons are apples-and-apples.

Truthfully, it's really worth noting expect for the fact that our prior-year comps otherwise wouldn't tie to yours exactly as we move through 2009. So, adjusting for all that, we are expecting EPS for the first quarter of 2009 between $1.16 and $1.18, excluding any items that affect comparability.

And with that, I'll now turn you back to Tim.

Timothy Ring

Okay. Thanks, Todd. That concludes the formal part of presentation. I'd like to now turn the call back to Cathy to facilitate the Q&A session.

Question-and-Answer Session

Operator

(Operator Instructions). Our first question is from the line of Miroslava Minkova with Leerink Swann. Go ahead please.

Miroslava Minkova - Leerink Swann

Hi guys. Congratulations on meeting your target yet again. A couple of questions here. First of all, oncology, it did seem to be slowing down a little bit this quarter. If you could please, a little bit, just highlight, what do you think happened in the quarter, especially since you had an acquisition there that should be additive as well? And my second question is on hernia. What are you seeing with Ventrio and why was Ventrio not more visible this quarter? I know you launched it in October, but should we expect for it to contribute more going forward, and how is the launch progressing?

John Weiland

Sure. No I think, first of all, to attack the question on the oncology business, we don't see that business slowing down in terms of our perspectives on conversion. We were delighted with what we saw in terms of our conversion rates on (inaudible) during the quarter, and continue to see very strong momentum within that product line over the next numbers of years.

Timothy Ring

Can I add to that John? It really has bounced around quarter-by-quarter, if you look backwards, even going a couple of years. But even this year, 15 in the first quarter, 13, 18 and then 13, that's not uncommon, I think for us, the new product flow and the intermittent launches there. It tends to kind of add to the flow.

John Weiland

The MRI isp PowerPort continues to have great opportunity for us as does, PowerPICC SOLO product line and we have a launch in the first half, a significant launch in dialysis in the first half of '09, which we expect to be very positive from a growth standpoint, and continued grow the SHPI products that we acquired last year.

On the Ventrio side, no, we are happy with where we are at. We liked the launch progress, we like what we see on a week-by-week basis and we monitor the number of accounts that are converted each week. We've seen those converted accounts grow in each and every week since introduction. But you have to understand. One says, one should convince a surgeon to try your new technology. He then asks to wait for his case load, and they are always readily apparent on day one that you sell them on to technology.

So, based on where we are right now. We see great opportunity. We continue to see that we are getting the right kinds of conversions, namely competitive conversions, which we are really focusing on, not other products that we may happen to sell.

Timothy Ring

John, correct me if I am wrong here, that was a late November launch, was it?

Todd Schermerhorn

The late October launch.

John Weiland

Late October launch. So, we didn't have all of October.

Miroslava Minkova - Leerink Swann

Okay, great. And just finally, I just wanted to make sure you are confirming your double-digit constant currency growth outlook for the full year. And what are you seeing right now in terms of an FX impact and where should it, I mean, how do we think about the FX impact in the P&L, where is the flexibility to offset some of that?

Todd Schermerhorn

Well, we are still committed to double-digit constant currency growth for next year. You know it's a little hard to sit here and understand what currency will impact us for next year, it's 300 basis points this period. I am sorry, well, 2009, I think of '09 next year. So, it's a little hard for us to estimate that, we have gone through the P&L pieces of that multiple times, I think that fundamentally the euro is our biggest exposure, and we do about $525 million in euro base sales, in dollar terms depending on where the currency is at any given time. We have natural hedges around 60% to 65% and we protect about half of that remainder. So we leave about somewhere around $100 million unprotected.

The actual analysis of currency is very complex internally, and the question of the impact of FX depends on where your starting point is. I guess, just talking about currency in general, the fourth quarter was very-very difficult on a sequential basis from Q3. You saw the impact on other income and expense, it was $4 million for translation adjustments or balance sheet adjustments as the currencies drop. And we think that overall, there was more than $5 million after-tax hit sequentially from Q3 to Q4. So, it can impact the earnings fairly substantially.

You see that conversely, we did a really nice job on SG&A this quarter, and I think that tends to be the biggest level we have. We really feel like you get what you plan there and to the extent we can get comfortable, to the extent that the currency gets steadier, I think would be okay. I think our concern is the currency movements that occur quickly where we can adjust our plans.

So, that's why we talk about the fact that '09 could be a little less even for us than what we've typically shown you, you know in the last several years.

Miroslava Minkova - Leerink Swann

Great, thank you. And I will get back in queue.

Operator

Thank you. We will go to next to Taylor Harris with JPMorgan. Please go ahead.

Taylor Harris - JPMorgan

Thanks a lot. Todd, I just want to hit on the foreign exchange question again. And really, it's going back to the Analyst Day. You had talked about this 1.3 rate as a point at which you got nervous about the 14% target, and we are at the 1.3 rate now. So, I just want to get any updated comments from you on that, as to, is there any way just to characterize your comfort level with 14%?

Todd Schermerhorn

Well, I think I said that time that, it got to be heavy lifting below 130. But it certainly wasn't something we couldn't manage, but it gets to be difficult. And I guess we hit 129 this afternoon. So, it is around that range which means we're going to have to work hard to get to 14%. But we still don't see anything in our views that says we can't get there're at this range.

Taylor Harris - JPMorgan

You know, when I added up the P&L line item guidance that you gave at the Analyst Meeting. At least based on where the euro was in December, it seemed like there was the potential for upper teens earnings growth. And historically you guys have done much better than 14%. Has anything changed in your assumptions around margins, your ability to leverage gross margin, SG&A, since December? And then, just given where the euro is, is it enough for you say, hey, Street, you should definitely be thinking about 14% for '09 rather than your traditional upside to that.

Todd Schermerhorn

Well, there has been no change in our guidance to answer your first question. The second question, we guided a minimum of 14%, we don't say, hey Street, its going to be 18 or 16. You know, you never hear us make those statements. So, I think our overall guidance and even our individual guidance within the P&L remains exactly as we stated to you in December, it would change anyway.

Taylor Harris - JPMorgan

Okay, great. And then one last question. I was interested to hear about the price increase you are taking in urology. And may be, Tim, I just love your broader perspective on your ability to take price across the range of your businesses in this environment? How much do you think price can contribute to your growth in 2009 or beyond that?

Timothy Ring

We don't have across our businesses annual price increase. I'll let John handle it in a minute. We just don't have that. In that one particular area, we also have price increase, I think it was in November of '07. So that particular product line does lend itself to that kind of thing. Having said that, each of our operating businesses do have a goal or strategic pricing initiative which tends to focus more on their slower moving or some of their older product line areas. John, do you want to elaborate on that?

John Weiland

Anything else I'd add is that these price increases that we talked about were price increases to dealers, and that does not end up in net price increases, because the determining prices really what the group purchasing price is for an awful high percentage of these products that go to the distributors.

Taylor Harris - JP Morgan

Okay. It makes sense. Thank you, guys.

John Weiland

Okay.

Operator

We have a question from Mimi Pham with JMP Securities. Please go ahead.

Mimi Pham - JMP Securities

Hi, good evening. Just, first, a couple of product questions on the EP side. First, you said that the EP LabSystem were up double digits so that you didn't see it impact there from the hospital capital spending environment?

John Weiland

That's right.

Mimi Pham - JMP Securities

Okay.

John Weiland

There were up double digits.

Mimi Pham - JMP Securities

Double digits? Okay. And then at the ASM Symposium, you did have your live case with your HD MESH balloon. Can you just let us know how the feedback was and if this is helping you to ramp up clinical centers in the US?

Timothy Ring

We'll let Dr. DeFord answer that one.

John DeFord

Sure, Mimi. Again, this is John DeFord. I think you were there Mimi for the case, but we had a live case from Europe. So, it was a commercial case of the HD MESH Ablation device. The device successfully isolated all four veins. We had very good feedback at the booth.

It was also probably most important for our clinical trail, which is ongoing here in the US where we have a number of sites up and running, a number of additional sites gearing up. And we had many of our investigators at that meeting. So, it gave them the opportunity to see the device in use and gave them an opportunity to ask some questions, both from the panel and from the floor about the device.

And, again, the results were very positive. We were very happy with that case. And it gave us some good communication opportunities to at the booth.

Mimi Pham - JMP Securities

Okay, great. And then, for LifeStent, could you possibly break out the revenue from that, how we're approaching north of $40 million run rate, $45 million run rate?

John Weiland

Mimi, we have not done that this year for competitive reasons. I would just say and I think we've said all along, we have been [beta-ing] our model all along for that product line.

Mimi Pham - JMP Securities

Okay. Thank you very much.

Operator

Next we have Matthew Dodds with Citigroup. Go ahead please.

Matthew Dodds - Citigroup

Thank you. So, first for the stent graft number, that was up a lot, but I am sure LifeStent is doing better. And you did mention the FLAIR AV access performance. It was that the majority of the difference, A; and then B, if that product has done so well out of the shoot, can E.LUMINEXX deliver that kind of performance for you in Q1? Is that a similar type of stocking or initial ramp?

That's the first set of questions. And then for Todd, on the foreign exchange, it sounds like the way you are talking about the expense change from Q4 '07 to Q4 '08 that it actually hurt you, that the FX maybe was positive last year and negative this year. I just want to understand specifically what the FX impact was on that other line year-over-year.

John Weiland

We start with the first part, Matt. This is John. When it relates to the stent line overall growth, and you saw it in the 50% category, a pretty strong growth across the category. LifeStent had very strong growth particularly in Europe where we have an on label indication for that product, also a very significant early uptick on FLAIR based on the significant clinical results of that product lines and the fact that we had a longer period of time to be out there detailing that than we may have had on the E.LUMINEXX for iliac.

Timothy Ring

Our sales force is squarely focused on all those as we enter into '09. I think you will see good balanced sales approach across the board and stents.

John A. DeFord

Matt, John DeFord here. The FLAIR is of first of its kind device. So, unlike the E.LUMINEXX, which is going into the iliac stent space, the FLAIR is the first device and only device on the market with that kind of indication. So I think that gives us a little different kind of profile with that product as we come out of gates with it.

Todd Schermerhorn

I am sorry. As it relate to FX and other income and expense, it was $4 million difference year-over-year. Now that's not the entirety of the foreign exchange impact. That's just the balance sheet measurement what would be (inaudible) called translation. Then there is the additional organic aspect of our sales and gross profit and so on.

Matthew Dodds - Citigroup

All right. Thanks, Todd. Thanks, John and John.

Operator

The next we have Bob Hopkins with Bank of America. Go ahead please.

Bob Hopkins - Bank of America

Hi, thanks. Good afternoon. Can you hear me okay?

Timothy Ring

Yes.

John Weiland

Yes.

Bob Hopkins - Bank of America

Great. Todd, first to your comments about sort of the unevenness of the quarterly flows. Given all the moving parts this year, especially foreign currency, I was wondering if you could help us understand the cadence of how the quarters may roll out and get to your 14%?

You've given us some guidance for the first quarter. It was a little bit below where the Street is currently modeling. So, is this something where it's going to be heavily fourth quarter oriented when you see a big ramp or would we steadily go up from here? Just some thoughts there would be helpful.

Todd Schermerhorn

I guess the first quarter last year; it was only 11.5% growth. So it's not uncommon for us to start out a little slow. I think we've been getting a little bit more backhanded each year. In the first quarter, the middle of that range would be 23-and-change percent of the full year.

We just came off of a fourth quarter that was almost 27% of the full year and we got hit by currency. So, it could have actually been better. So I don't see that as necessarily a major concern. It's not uncommon here. I guess when I talk about the lumpiness through the year, I really can't help you with that, because I just don't know what it's going to be.

I am just prepared for the fact that we might get a tough currency period, and it might take us 90 days or 180 days to adjust our spending to the extent we need to continue to make numbers. But as I said here, Bob, it's just very difficult for me to tell you exactly what that's going to be and when.

Bob Hopkins - Bank of America

Yes, I understand. What about if rates just stay the same, which of course they're not going to do, but just for fun? What if rates stay about the same as they are right now, would you not experience that lumpiness or, at 130, would we still see lots of ups and downs in Q2, Q3 and Q4?

Todd Schermerhorn

No, I think if we could get them to be steady, we would see sort of our normal dating, which is kind of there is a slightly lower growth in the first quarter; second and third quarter typically and fairly close. We step up in the second quarter and then second and third quarter are generally very close from an EPS standpoint and then we normally have the very big fourth quarter.

Bob Hopkins - Bank of America

I see. So, it's just currency might be volatile, therefore we might be volatile?

Todd Schermerhorn

Well, as I said this past quarter was over $5 million after tax, from Q3. So, if we get moves like that it becomes very difficult for us to be kind of the steady eddies and have time to do the plan and get it to work out in the timeframe.

Timothy Ring

On a quarter-to-quarter.

Todd Schermerhorn

On a quarter-to-quarter basis, yes.

Bob Hopkins - Bank of America

And then two other little things; going back to the guidance that you've provided in mid-December, I mean you stated pretty clearly that there is no change to your top line or bottom line guidance. But is there any change in the line items throughout the four major businesses in terms of the growth rates, if you're expecting any change in the mix there?

Todd Schermerhorn

No, not at all. Obviously, vascular is pretty hot right now and so we'd like to see that continue. But no, we wouldn't change anything at this point.

Bob Hopkins - Bank of America

Okay. So, is surgery still on that 3% to 8% range?

Todd Schermerhorn

Yeah. I mean, surgery grew and won this quarter. It's not that flat at 3.

Bob Hopkins - Bank of America

Yeah. And then, one last question. Just a little thing on this particular fourth quarter, you gave guidance for the full year tax rate at a certain level and it came in a little bit better than that and probably contributed maybe 100 basis points better in the fourth quarter on the tax rate.

I know you talked about this little bit, but I just want it to be clear. What was the source of the extra 100 basis points and because it added maybe a penny or two by my calculation, is that right?

Todd Schermerhorn

Yeah. I think that's right. The R&D tax credit we talked about multiple times, we knew it was coming that was about $2.5 million. And then the remainder was an adjustment for our ongoing favorability that we'll get as a result of the 2003-2004 IRS audit. Now, that was already baked into our 2009 guidance, so there is no change there.

Bob Hopkins - Bank of America

So, when you see that extra tax benefit coming through, do you allow a little increase spending, because you know overall you're going to be fine on EPS?

Todd Schermerhorn

Yeah, we knew those will come in, Bob.

Bob Hopkins - Bank of America

Okay. That's all I have. Thanks so much.

Operator

Our next question is from Joanne Wuensch with BMO Capital Markets. Thanks very much. Go ahead please.

Joanne Wuensch - BMO Capital Markets

That's okay. A couple of little things; what is your tax rate guidance for '09 at this stage?

Todd Schermerhorn

We said 29.5.

Joanne Wuensch - BMO Capital Markets

Okay. And I assume that's relatively steady throughout the year?

Todd Schermerhorn

Yeah. Typically, yes.

Joanne Wuensch - BMO Capital Markets

Okay. And you said that it is going to take you or could take you 60 to 90 days to manage SG&A. Should we think about that is kind of turnaround time? And how much can you really manage SG&A? I mean you got a nice kick up in the fourth quarter almost 100 basis points down sequentially, I mean how low can you go?

Todd Schermerhorn

Right. Well, I don't know if I can get into a great detail about the turnaround time of planning on SG&A Joanne. It's difficult to go through here. But it is true that a fair amount of that is discretionary. And so if we are given – it's not like R&D that we are committed to for long periods of time. Historically, the SG&A has been discretionary and we are able to move it. We're able to get responsiveness from our organization. To move it providing we have the time, exactly how much it is, sort of depends on how much we have to move it by.

I think overall Joanne. Another thing I'd point out is, it is fairly low, but our SG&A is up 10% this year. So, we've not been by any means choke in the organization rather to spending. It's just good managing of the timing of what we do.

John Weiland

And I'd add that even during that some of that strong performance in SG&A, we had about 100 reps around the world and we'll do that again in 2009 within our guidance.

Joanne Wuensch - BMO Capital Markets

Okay, very helpful. Thank you very much.

Todd Schermerhorn

Okay.

Operator

We have a question from Kristen Stewart with Credit Suisse. Go ahead please.

Kristen Stewart - Credit Suisse

Hello, thanks for taking the question. One item in the quarter I guess other sales and then other income and expense, it looks like there is a little bit other sales looks there were a little weaker than what I would have anticipated and than other expense. It just looks like you should have otherwise and income is anything unusual in these two items?

John Weiland

Well, certainly in other sales the change there is a tenth of 1% of our total; it's only a couple of million bucks basically. So, there is nothing material to talk about there. Other income expense, we did talk about it. I mean we're down $4.5 million on interest income year-over-year entirely rate driven that the average cash balances in the fourth quarter of this year are actually higher than the prior year and then there was $4 million of re-measurement, $4 million of currency year-over-year increase. So, there are 8.5 and the $9 million change.

Kristen Stewart - Credit Suisse

Okay. And how should we think about that on a go forward basis?

John Weiland

Well, I think interest income gone be tough here. The yields on our portfolio at this time last year, we were just under 6%. We are now in the one and change arena and we don't see that changing in the near-term, if any thing it will probably go down.

Foreign exchange, I can't help it, that's really the impact of the severe changes that occurred in the fourth quarter and the re-measurement of balance sheet accounts around the world as a consequence of the drop in those currencies.

It tends to be kind of like a one time deal and then you live with that level of currency if it maintains. So, if currency was stable from here, we wouldn't have those kinds of hits, but of course we have the organic flow issues of lower sales volume and a higher relationship of dollar base cost of the sales value around the world.

Kristen Stewart - Credit Suisse

Okay. And I guess, there has been a lot of talk about raw material cost and resin prices coming down and whet not. Are you guys seeing any favorable benefit form that and are you still comfortable with your gross margin guidance of about 50 to 100 basis point of improvement?

John Weiland

Yeah, we are, and I think we are probably seeing that although we talk often about how difficult that is to measure. But this is a good quarter from a GP standpoint. Despite the FX challenges, I think we are seeing 80 to 100 basis points of cost improvement this quarter. So, we had some good momentum on that side and that's really pulling us through.

Kristen Stewart - Credit Suisse

Thanks. That's it for me.

Operator

And then we will go to Greg Simpson with Stifel. Please go ahead.

Greg Simpson - Stifel Nicolaus

Yeah, thanks. Good evening, guys. I appreciate you taking a couple of questions. First, I'd like to start with Agento. John, you didn't need to go into a lot of detail there other than say you've gained momentum. From a competitive standpoint, can you maybe discuss Covidien Hi-Lo Evac tube and any impact that might have on the Agento launch and uptake and I mean I know it works in a completely different fashion, but it's a lower price product I am just curious what the competitive implications might be?

John Weiland

We don't see the Hi-Lo Evac being a product line that's stopping our momentum by any stretch of imagination. It's interesting to look back at Agento and a few times I had mention that our growth in Agento will be very similar to the progress that we made with Bard XIC over the years.

And interestingly to note, going back to when we first launched the product and the first full year we had that on the market was 1996. We sold $4 million at first year in the market of Bard XIC. And then every year, we have increased the revenue base in the United States by the low teens, millions of dollars.

And I think that's exactly what our ramp is going to be with this product in the United States. Its all a matter of convincing one hospital at a time that this product will play a significant role in reducing ventilator-associated pneumonia, and reducing the costs associated with it, and that's what our reps are doing one hospital at a time.

Timothy Ring

Well, and I also think Greg when you look at costs, you need to also include the cost of the nursing time, and the fact that this Hi-Lo Evac device does require connection to suctioning, and then does require maintenance, where the Agento device doesn't require any changes in the way that patient is managed.

Greg Simpson - Stifel Nicolaus

Right. Okay, thank you. Now can I ask a question on peripheral? Some of your competitors have been suggesting a slowdown in the overall peripheral vascular market growth rate. So you guys obviously are putting up some extremely healthy numbers. Can I maybe get some sense of what you guys think the market growth rate is, peripheral as a whole and peripheral stents specifically? And what's allowing you to outperform the market. Obviously John, you went through a ton of product detail, so is it specifically or mostly just market share gains?

John Weiland

Yes. We see the market still being very healthy (inaudible) in peripheral. The overall rate of the whole endovascular market, we see approximately the 10% category. We don't see that changing dramatically at this point in time, and we certainly don't see it changing in our results, as we take share in that category. And, in the stent market, it's difficult to say what the pure growth rate is going to be, because so much depends on the US market.

We think that the self-expanding stent market is a little under $500 million worldwide. The US represents about $300 million of that, and that is so determined by what is on-label and what is off-label in terms of promotion. And you can't really talk to physicians about the benefit of some of these technologies until you get an on-label indication.

Greg Simpson - Stifel Nicolaus

Right.

John Weiland

I think that'll have the change in growth rates moving forward. But we certainly have, our competitors may have seen some, we don't see any slowdown right now.

Timothy Ring

Greg, the only thing I would add, I think the slowdown, if you referencing the US, is exactly the point John mentioned. There's been a reduction in off-label promotion across the board, and that clearly has slowed the growth rate in the US market, which is why the on-label indication is even more important. The underlying growth rate is clearly in the double-digit, maybe even a little higher than that range, it's just restricted right now, because not really many companies have on-label indications.

Greg Simpson - Stifel Nicolaus

Right.

Timothy Ring

But we assume to have [three].

Greg Simpson - Stifel Nicolaus

Yeah, okay. Great, thank you. And Todd if I can go back, jump on Kristen's question about the other product line, I know it's not a big deal, but if look at my model, it was a few million dollars shy, so it affects the overall revenue number. Is it specifically a difference in OEM business? I guess may be more importantly, you guys intentionally don't guide that line or guide that business line, any kind of guidance, general guidance thoughts you could may be provide there?

Todd Schermerhorn

No, Greg I apologize. There is nothing really, I'm not smart enough to guide on it at this point. And there is a lot of bouncing around in the OEM business and some businesses that we put less focus on frankly.

Greg Simpson - Stifel Nicolaus

Right.

Todd Schermerhorn

So, I really can't help you too much here. But I don't think your model could be off heck of a lot just because of the dollars involved is so small.

Greg Simpson - Stifel

Right. Okay, fair enough. All right. Thanks very much, guys.

Todd Schermerhorn

Thanks.

Operator

Next we have Christopher Warren with Caris & Company.

Christopher Warren - Caris & Company

Thanks so much. I wanted to ask another question on peripheral stents. And specifically, you had mentioned that ISET is coming out with a 206-patient study with some superior results, arguably, versus ballooning alone. Is that really the conversion you're trying to put in place or do you see share coming more from the other stent manufacturers?

Timothy Ring

I think it'll be both. There obviously has been a portion of the market of physicians that are buying these stents for peripheral use today. That whole market and our opportunity to convert that would certainly be open to us. But then again, if you look at the significance of the clinical results of that product in terms of target lesion revascularization, we love what the results are for us.

And the data on breakage is significant. We're lower than anybody else that we've seen clinically at 3.8% or so. So we like the clinical results, and we think that will move people to that technology versus, let's say, just a PTA procedure alone.

Christopher Warren - Caris & Company

And as a follow-up to that, just speaking about sort of target lesion revascularization rates, would you say it's easier to make a superiority argument to a clinician when you are comparing versus atherectomy than it is PTA alone?

John Weiland

Well, Christopher, that's an interesting question, because atherectomy depends or there is such a variability in patients, whether you're trying total inclusion or whether you're just trying to widen the vessel, whether it's highly calcified, I am not sure that that there is an easy way to draw that conclusion.

But right now, pretty much every case of atherectomy, they follow-up with a stenting procedure. So, they kind of go hand-in-hand. There aren't too many cases where they perform atherectomy and then leave it alone or even atherectomy and PTA. It's primarily atherectomy plus stenting.

Christopher Warren - Caris & Company

Okay. That's helpful. And, just one quick question on the hernia market. Could you give us some sense on the synthetic side what the market growth rate is and whether or not you feel like you're gaining or losing share versus the other synthetic competitors?

Timothy Ring

We think the market growth rate on synthetic is about 2% annually at this point in time. And we think now with our new introductions that we'll be taking share in that category. We think Ventrio will be a big portion of that.

Christopher Warren - Caris & Company

Okay. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

Operator

We have a question from David Bachman with Longbow Research.

David Bachman - Longbow Research

Hi, good morning and thanks for hanging in there for another question or two. A couple of lingering product questions, first in the urology line, if I could just get a little more color and a couple of comments. One is, is just the market moving away from the bulking products? Sort of how do we think about that going forward and your plans there? And then more color on the reimbursement change from CMS that might have had a positive impact in the quarter?

Timothy Ring

Sure. We've seen for a quite a long period of time the market moving away from bulking as a first-line defense for female incontinence and moving to a sling procedure as a more effective potential clinical outcome. That's been happening for, I would say, at least the last three years. And it's a phenomenon we expect to continue to see in the future.

Now, the reality of it is that our bulking product is not that large of a sales result or baseline for us that have a significant effect on our overall growth rates today. The reimbursement change that we talked about is on intermittent catheters. I'll say it on two areas of reimbursement change, one on intermittent catheters and then there was some reimbursement changes that happened as if related to urinary tract infections in the hospital.

The intermittent catheter reimbursement change was that historically patients that needed intermittent catheters were only compensated. I believe it was five catheters per month and now, they can use up to 30 per month. So right, one a day, John. So, all of a sudden now the market is tripled for intermittent catheters plus some. But it’s not a meaningful base for us quite frankly; the big reimbursement issue has been what’s happened on urinary tract infections or hospital acquired infections and in the past up until October, hospitals were reimbursed for all urinary tract infections that were received in the hospital. No longer since October, hospitals being reimbursed for that, which in our minds helps the efficacy argument and the financial argument associated with Bard XIC eliminating urinary tract infections.

David Bachman - Longbow Research

Okay, good, and just point I mean kind of what are you hearing on the UTI front or other fronts from other payers following that lead kind of how is that progressing to the market?

John Weiland

That hasn’t been as obvious although, it’s got a lot of attention from the outside payers, but that has not been as obvious in terms of what’s going to happen in the follow on, but I will tell you the, when you look at hospitals and our attention towards hospital acquired infections their attention is acute at this point in time.

David Bachman - Longbow Research

Okay. Just another couple of other quick questions. In surgical, the CollaMend launch, which I believe you said is eminent.

John Weiland

Right, correct.

David Bachman - Longbow Research

On that particular product, how do we think about how that type of product launch is? I mean are there initial stocking orders where we see kind of a big initial jump or did that sort of roll in over time?

John Weiland

No, I think you will see it a slow ramp, much like you do many of our products where it's really convincing one new surgeon at a time to try the device and then it’s scheduling his next case in getting it utilized. So, I think you'll see like many of our products say, a very slow controlled launch and very slow controlled ramp.

David Bachman - Longbow Research

Great. And one last question. You mentioned about back on the income statement about manufacturing savings and just a little clarification there, about what the opportunity is going forward and if you are talking about manufacturing savings apart from input cost?

Todd Schermerhorn

It's the same thing we have been doing for five or six years. We guided 50 to 100 basis points and our cost savings programs tend to come from ideal activity, they come from our new product flow, they come from ability to harness scale and manufacturing and they come from our ability to manage the purchasing process.

So, it’s all of those things and it tends to fluctuate within that pool depending upon what deals we have done or what new product we will just come out with. I think in the greater picture, it’s the same thing we have been doing for four or five years.

David Bachman - Longbow Research

Okay, great. Thanks for the color and it’s nice to be with you.

Todd Schermerhorn

Thanks, you too.

Operator

We have Jayson Bedford with Raymond James. Go ahead please.

Jayson Bedford - Raymond James

Thanks. Just a couple of quick questions, and I don’t mean to be redundant here but just the first quarter EPS guidance, the implied growth is a little less than your annual goals. I am just wondering, is that solely due to FX or is it related to the timing of some additional costs that may hit in the first quarter?

Todd Schermerhorn

I don’t think there is any signal there Jayson. As I think I pointed out, last year we grew to 11.5% on an adjusted basis in the first quarter. So, I don’t think it’s terribly different than that. So I am not trying to signal anything there. I do think as it stands right now, as we've talked about it over-and-over again. The currency comparisons are difficult, and not knowing exactly what they will be for the first quarter, I think we will tend to be careful with our projections.

Jayson Bedford - Raymond James

Yeah, that’s fair. And just a couple of quick hernia related questions. The (inaudible) launch, is that contingent on 510(k) clearance, or do you have that now?

Todd Schermerhorn

We have the 510(k) clearance.

Jayson Bedford - Raymond James

You do have, okay. And then when we look at the ventral line, on Ventrio. Is it a function of up-selling existing surgeons, or do you view it as more of a competitive tool to get new docs on board?

John Weiland

No, right now, the initial portion of our launch is clearly focused on competitive users. You know, we had owned that market for a quite a long period of time with our Kugel Composix product. We lost some share during our recall times. We are going back after that share.

Jayson Bedford - Raymond James

Okay. And the late October launch, that was a full launch, that wasn’t a tiered launch at all?

John Weiland

No, we are in full market launch now.

Jayson Bedford - Raymond James

Thank you very much.

Operator

(Operator Instructions). And we will go next to Brooks West with Craig-Hallum Capital.

Brooks West - Craig-Hallum Capital

Hi guys, thanks for taking the question. Just looking for a little bit more color on the surgical specialties. Looking at the timing of the multiple product launches, I am trying to get a sense of the quarterly kind of revenue progression there, given account conversions and everything else? And then, Todd if you can hit the top end of your growth guidance here at 8%, can you quantify those are high margin products that would be a material impact to your EPS?

John Weiland

It would be a lot of money, Brooks, I guess, that’s how I'd quantify it. It's high margin stuff, that’s exactly right.

Brooks West - Craig-Hallum Capital

And any thoughts, is that just going to kind of build throughout the year, or in terms of revenue progression.

John Weiland

Yeah I think it's going to be. Obviously when you think about where we are starting from, it's got to build.

Brooks West - Craig-Hallum Capital

Sure?

John Weiland

It’s going to be key on our new products. Ventrio built throughout the year, (inaudible) as we launched that at the end of the first quarter, early second quarter, it really started to build. So highly determined based on our new technology.

Brooks West - Craig-Hallum Capital

Okay. And then a question just relating to kind of Q4 procedures versus Q1 procedures, and we’ve heard a lot of anecdotal commentary that with the resetting of deductibles that may be some procedures got crammed back and take, you know sling procedures, (inaudible) procedures. Some of those got crammed into Q4 and then Q1 might be a little light there. Have you seen any evidence to that?

John Weiland

We have not seen any evidence of that. No.

Brooks West - Craig-Hallum Capital

Okay. And then Todd. Lastly, you mentioned some of the effect of this accounting with some adjustments of some prior quarter EPS numbers, and I misheard you a little bit there. Could you just say that one more time?

Todd Schermerhorn

Yes, we are going to be subject to some new GAAP. It’s basically rounding, Brooks. What I said was, we are going to in effect, be rounding down EPS for the prior year by a penny in the first, third, and fourth quarters. Just basically, a new process for determining dilution and it’s going to affect us by a penny a quarter there and a penny a quarter give or take going.

Brooks West - Craig-Hallum Capital

Okay. And it's just a share count?

Todd Schermerhorn

Yes, exactly. It's a different methodology.

John Weiland

Brooks, one of the things on the gauging on surgery. I was just looking at it. We still have a pretty good Salute comp in the fourth quarter. That pretty much disappears as we move into the first quarter of next year. So that's another factor on the change.

Brooks West - Craig-Hallum Capital

Right.

Todd Schermerhorn

So not only we would not have that comp, but we'll come out of a new product at the end of that quarter. So there is plenty of opportunity there. And we believe that's a meaningful product for us from a volume standpoint.

Brooks West - Craig-Hallum Capital

Yes, I mean that could make your year right there.

Todd Schermerhorn

Yes.

Brooks West - Craig-Hallum Capital

All right. Thanks, guys.

Todd Schermerhorn

Okay. Thank you.

Operator

We will go next to Kristen.

Kristen Stewart - Credit Suisse

Hi, thanks for the follow-up. I'll be really quick. The Agento publication, are you guys still expecting around mid-year, any update on timing of that for any data?

John Weiland

Yes, the subgroup analysis manuscript is slated to be published in mid-year. So we are actually right now kind of thinking through where we want to put that to try to get it out as quickly as possible.

Kristen Stewart - Credit Suisse

Okay. And then did you guys quantify what the price increase was for StatLock that prompted the distributor stocking this quarter?

Timothy Ring

No, we did not.

Kristen Stewart - Credit Suisse

Can you say if it's double digit, single digit?

Timothy Ring

I don't even know the price increase for the product.

Kristen Stewart - Credit Suisse

Okay.

John Weiland

Single digit.

Kristen Stewart - Credit Suisse

Okay. Thanks for that.

Timothy Ring

Okay. Thank you.

Operator

There are no additional questions. So this does conclude our Q&A session. I'd like to turn the call back over to Bard's management for closing or additional comments.

Timothy Ring

Okay. Well, thanks for hanging in with us. And I'd like to thank you all for joining us this evening, and we look forward to having you join us at the end of the first quarter.

John Weiland

Thanks everybody.

Operator

Thank you. And ladies and gentlemen, that does conclude our conference for today. Thank you for your participation and for using AT&T's Executive Teleconference. You may now disconnect.

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Source: C.R. Bard, Inc. Q4 2008 Earnings Call Transcript
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