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Mindray Medical International, Ltd. (NYSE:MR)

Q3 2007 Earnings Call

November 1, 2007 8:00 pm ET

Executives

Lisa Li - Mindray's Investor Relations Representative

Xu Hang - Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer

Li Xiting - President and Co-Chief Executive Officer

Joyce Hsu - Chief Financial Officer

Analysts

Ben Li - Merrill Lynch

Bill Quart - Piper Jaffray

Joy Yuan - Goldman Sachs

Vicki Chen - UBS

Alex Xu - Brean Murray

Michael Tu - CIBC

Michael Castor - FIO

TRANSCRIPT SPONSOR

Operator

Good evening, and thank you for standing by for Mindray's Third Quarter and Full-Year 2007 Earnings Conference Call. At this time all participants are in a listen-only mode.

After Management's prepared remarks, there will be a question and answer session. Today's conference is being recorded. If you have any objections you may disconnect at this time.

I would now like to turn the meeting over to your host for today's conference, Lisa Li, Mindray's Investor Relations representative.

Lisa Li

Hello, everyone, and welcome to Mindray's third quarter 2007 earnings conference call. Our third quarter 2007 earnings results were released earlier today and are available on the Company's website, as well as on web newswire services.

In addition, an archived webcast of this conference call will be available on the Investor Relations section of our website at www.mindray.com.

Joining today's call is Mr. Xu Hang, our Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer; Mr. Li Xiting, our President and Co-CEO; and Ms. Joyce Hsu, our Chief Financial Officer. After Mr. Xu's prepared remarks, Management will be available to answer your questions.

Before we continue, please note that the discussion today will contain forward-looking statements made under the Safe Harbor Provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties. As such, our results may be materially different from the views expressed today. A number of potential risks and uncertainties are outlined in our public filings with the SEC. Mindray does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements, except as required under applicable law.

I will now turn the call over to Mindray's CFO, Ms. Joyce Hsu.

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Joyce Hsu

Good morning, and good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you, for joining us today. We are pleased to announce another strong quarter, as we achieved record revenues increasing 59% year-over-year.

Revenues year-to-date have increased over 50% from the same time a year ago. We continue to execute well against our long-term strategy with strong visibility across our three core product lines and sales geographies worldwide. We are confident about our ability to achieve full-year goals.

Net revenues generated in international markets in the third quarter increased by 52% to RMB286 million or $38 million U.S. dollars from RMB188 million in the third quarter 2006. Domestically revenues generated in the third quarter increased more than 66% to RMB287 million or $38 million U.S. dollars from RMB173 million in third quarter 2006.

A healthy domestic environment drove strong sales growth in China during the third quarter. While government tenders are typically higher in the second quarter due to the acceleration after the Chinese New Year holiday.

Our third quarter revenue from tenders was significantly higher than in the same period a year ago. This is a reflection of our strong distribution network and growing reputation in China for high quality products and superior price to performance.

International growth also remains well distributed between our core products. Geographically we saw exceptional growth in Europe and South America, but most importantly we're encouraged by the balanced growth that we continue to see from all our markets abroad.

In order to continue capturing this growth we are committed to developing the necessary distribution networks, sales force and sales support capability to ensure products reach our end markets. We will also continue to invest in subsidiaries to establish a local presence in international markets. In the third quarter alone we opened offices in Canada, Brazil, Mexico and Netherlands.

Now, looking at our quarterly performance by product segments, sales of patient monitoring devices produced a strong growth increase with the increase over 48% from the same period a year ago. Patient monitoring devices showed strong uptake in our international markets and domestically a healthier environment compared to the same period one year ago also helped with sales.

Our ultrasound imaging system and diagnostic laboratory instrument segments both experienced a robust growth during the quarter growing over 66% and 64% respectively compared to the third quarter 2006.

Strong growth year-over-year in our diagnostic laboratory instrument segment was largely a result of increased Chinese government tenders and products such as our recently FDA approved BC-3200 gained international brand recognition and contributed to overall segment growth.

Benefiting from our leading domestic position, government tender also significantly contributed to the ultrasound imaging system revenue during the quarter. And our suite of color ultrasound products continues to gain customer acceptance in China and internationally with exceptional performance in Europe during the quarter.

In line with our 55% to 56% annual target, annual gross margin target, third quarter 2007 consolidated gross margin was 55.1%. Consolidated gross margin year-to-date is 55.7%.

Breaking down our operating expenses for the quarter, selling expenses as a percentage of the total net revenues increased to 14.5% from 14.4% in the second quarter 2007. Investments in sales headcount caused a slight increase in sales expenses, during the third quarter from the second quarter. We will continue to invest in our expanding international distribution and sales networks.

G&A expenses, as a percentage of total net revenues were 3.7%, which was unchanged from the second quarter 2007. R&D expenses, as a percentage of our total net revenues increased to 9.9% from 8.8% in the second quarter 2007. This increase is in line with our annual goal to spend 10% of our revenues in R&D.

Non-GAAP operating profit in the third quarter increased by 62% to RMB173 million or 23 million U.S. dollars from the third quarter 2006. Non-GAAP operating margin were 30.1% in the third quarter 2007 compared to 29.4% in the third quarter 2006.

Our income tax expense was significantly higher in the third quarter 2007, as our effective tax rate increased from 6.6% in the third quarter 2006 to 14% in the third quarter 2007.

Third quarter 2007 non-GAAP net margin was 30% compared to 27.8% in the third quarter 2006 and 31.1% in the second quarter 2007. Non-GAAP net income increased 71.5% year-over-year to RMB172 million or 23 million U.S. dollars.

Despite an increase in our accrued income taxes, we reported nearly 70% year-over-year increase GAAP net income.

Now turning to our balance sheet, as of September 30th, 2007, we had RMB1.7 billion or 232 million U.S. dollars in cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments. Net cash generated from operating activities and capital expenditures in the first 9 months of 2007 were RMB418 million or 56 million U.S. dollars and RMB165 million or 22 million U.S. dollars respectively.

Our average account receivable dates outstanding was 22 days in the third quarter compared to 20 days in the third quarter 2006. And inventory turnover was 64 days in the third quarter this year compared to 70 days in the third quarter last year.

It is our continued practice to maintain discipline, especially in working capital management. We are maintaining our full-year 2007 net revenue guidance range of RMB2,155 million to RMB 2,185 million representing an annual growth of 42% to 44% over the full-year 2006.

We are also maintaining our full-year non-GAAP net income guidance range of RMB600 million to RMB630 million, representing annual growth of 44% to 51% over full-year 2006. We are updating our expected capital expenditure for 2007 to be in the range of RMB350 million to RMB400 million from the previous range.

Once again, it is our practice to provide guidance on a full-year basis only. This forecast reflects Mindray's current and preliminary views, which are subject to change. In the fourth quarter we are going to see a solid return on our continued investment in R&D with the launch of six high quality competitively priced products, which will contribute to our 2008 sales.

During this quarter, we have also increased our total option pool from 700 to more than 1,000 employees. This means that approximately, one out of every three Mindray employees are now vested in the Company.

With one of the largest employee vesting option programs in China, our employees and shareholders interest are more closely aligned than ever. Since introducing this program in 2006, we have been gratified to see a significant improvement in our employee retention rate increase.

Also, we have announced during the quarter that we continue to build our Management team, both by promoting our Senior Management from within and also hiring external talent. With this, we have concluded our prepared remarks. Now, I will turn the call over to the operator to begin the Q&A session.

Question-and-Answer Session

Operator

(Operator Instructions) Your first question will come from the line of Ben Li with Merrill Lynch. Please proceed.

Ben Li - Merrill Lynch

Thank you. I just want to ask a question for the quarter first. It's a great quarter, but I noticed despite the strong performance year-to-date you still maintaining your full year guidance, so, I'm using your upper end of the guidance for 2007.

And my math is telling me the implied fourth quarter sales is something like RMB628 million, which implies that 32% year-over-year growth and the bottom-line, which is the non-GAAP net income is RMB1.25, which implies about 2% decline year-over-year, which seems to me very unlikely.

Can you tell us whether my math is correct, or are you expecting any seasonality, or you are just being too conservative?

Joyce Hsu

Hi Ben it’s Joyce. We are very confident in achieving; first of all, we are very confident in achieving our annual guidance as is given at this point of time. This is the guidance that we had given in the beginning of this year and we have our Board has subsequently raised in the past two quarters.

And at this point in time our Board has discussed and taken the decision not to raise the annual guidance, given that it remains our practice to give only the full year guidance and not a quarterly guidance, but we remain very optimistic with the outlook of our business in the fourth quarter and also beyond.

Ben Li - Merrill Lynch

Okay. And then just a follow-up on that. In your press release you mentioned the patient monitor segment is very healthy and it's led by a healthier domestic environment compared to the third quarter of last year.

Can you elaborate on that and can you also remind us what was the government tender offer last quarter and how big was this quarter?

Joyce Hsu

What we were reflecting in the Press Release regarding the patient monitoring segment, as you may recall, last year at this time there was a very active anti corruption campaign going on in domestic China and therefore, we had particularly under performance within the patient monitoring segment a year ago.

And that's why this year during the same quarter we're seeing a much higher growth in terms of patient monitoring segments vis-à-vis, what we historically have seen in the past. It was not tender driven.

Ben Li - Merrill Lynch

Okay. And can you quantify the tender for this quarter compared to the tender you had the last quarter, the second quarter?

Joyce Hsu

I think the tender in terms of percentage of our sales the tender percentage was definitely lower than what had experienced in the second quarter, but it remains very healthy. And we are seeing a number of tender pipeline coming up in the fourth quarter as well.

Ben Li - Merrill Lynch

Yes. I guess what I'm trying to find out is your growth in China is 66%, extremely, extremely strong. I just wanted to try -- I’m just trying to find out what's behind that?

Joyce Hsu

Well, part of it, I think in terms of year-over-year comparison a lot of it was driven by the less healthy environment a year ago and some of it is also driven by, in terms of the patient monitoring segment, the environment change is definitely one factor.

The second factor was really that our BeneView and also some of the higher end patient monitors continue to drive sales in the higher end of the market. In the other two segments we are seeing also very healthy increase from the government tenders because last year at this time there wasn't any significant government tenders going on.

And we are seeing in particular tenders contributing to the growth of the diagnostic laboratory segment as well as the ultrasound segment in domestic China.

Ben Li - Merrill Lynch

Okay. Thanks.

Operator

(Operator Instructions) Your next question comes from the line of Bill Quart with Piper Jaffray. Please proceed.

Bill Quart - Piper Jaffray

Thank you, good morning.

Joyce Hsu

Good morning, Bill.

Bill Quart - Piper Jaffray

A two-part question, Joyce. I'm sorry, I'm going to irritate the moderator here, but it certainly seems that we've had broad strength in China, both on the coastal cities as well as the interior. I guess one is just I assume that that's the case, but is one, Joyce, kind of leading the charge than the other or are there any early trends in the fourth quarter that would suggest any change from what we've seen here in the third?

Xu Hang

[Foreign Language]

Joyce Hsu

Okay. Hey, Bill. Let me just translate for Mr. Xu. What Mr. Xu is saying that we remain very confident with the outlook in the fourth quarter.

We do not see any factors that may lead to deteriorating sales environment in the fourth quarter and we, the Management, continue to be very confident in our ability to achieve our full-year guidance. Historically, in terms of seasonality, fourth quarter has always been the strongest quarter of the year.

Xu Hang

[Foreign Language].

Joyce Hsu

And the one trend what we have continued to see in domestic China is that whether it's government tenders or the orders coming in from our normal distribution channel, they continue to be on the upward trend.

Xu Hang

[Foreign Language].

Joyce Hsu

And therefore we are very confident with the fourth quarter outlook.

Bill Quart - Piper Jaffray

Understood. Thanks, for the response. And just one follow-up, if I may, is that based on your comments, Joyce, I suspect that the pacing of tenders has not slowed down in the fourth quarter. It sounds like it is, I guess based on your earlier response, it is at or perhaps slightly better than third quarter levels, is that correct?

Li Xiting

[Foreign Language]

Joyce Hsu

Let me translate for Mr. Li. Mr. Li is saying that from the sales pipeline or the tender pipeline that we are seeing and the information we're collecting from the provincial level we believe that fourth quarter tender levels, whether in the number of quantity or in terms of the size of each tender, we are likely to be higher than third quarter.

I want to add here that the only uncertainty we have or we're faced with is that our sales regulation policy is only dependent on the delivery of the tenders. So, in the event that there's any tender that we get awarded, but not delivered before December 31st, we will not be able to book it as 2007 sales.

Bill Quart - Piper Jaffray

Duly noted, Joyce. Thanks, for the response, and congratulations on a strong quarter.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Joy Yuan with Goldman Sachs. Please proceed.

Joy Yuan - Goldman Sachs

I've got a couple of questions. First of all, I think third quarter saw the lowest gross margin year-to-date. I just wonder if there's any particular reason behind it. And historically the fourth quarter always had the lowest margins because of the inventory write offs, so could you also provide some outlook for margins outlook for the fourth quarter?

Joyce Hsu

I think, as I have stated in my script, while the third quarter gross margin is lower than the first and the second quarter, but year-to-date we're still maintaining average gross margin 55.7% which is about 100 basis percent higher than what we have experienced in the same period a year ago and which is also in line with the guidance we had given in the beginning of this year.

Now, we're hoping to achieve a gross margin expansion in the range of 55% to 56%. So I think we are very pleased to see the margin trend that we have seen so far this year. And the lower margin in the third quarter was primarily due to the change in the product mix.

As you know, our different product segments had varied gross margin and at any given time different product mix will contribute to a different gross margin, consolidated gross margin for that quarter.

For the fourth quarter I can't yet comment on the gross margin outlook, but where we can be confident is that we should be able to achieve on the full-year basis a 55% to 56% gross margin trend, which we are set out to achieve in the beginning of this year.

Joy Yuan - Goldman Sachs

Thank you. And as I recall last quarter, in Q2 BeneView and ultrasound contributed to about 50% of incremental sales for each segment. In this quarter is this the same situation?

Joyce Hsu

We're not disclosing the contribution of a particular new product, but from what we've seen from January to September in terms of the new products we have launched in the second half lat year as well as what we have launched so far this year the total product contribution is about 20% of our overall sales.

Joy Yuan - Goldman Sachs

You mean total new products?

Joyce Hsu

Total new products. Sales derived from new product launch in the past 12 months.

Joy Yuan - Goldman Sachs

Okay, great. My last question is as I recalled by 2Q you have added 40 new sales persons for the international market. Is there any update on the international sales recruiting?

Joyce Hsu

We are still very aggressively recruiting for international sales. I don't have the specific number of headcounts at hand right now, but last quarter I think, we discussed that our year-end goal is likely to be around 200 sales people by the year end, but at this point of time I think, the goal will probably, be reached a quarter later, then to have 200 headcount by the year-end.

We will continue to be very aggressively building up our sales force overseas, particularly with the opening of all these new offices in the third quarter. We would now have a larger base to go out to recruit the local talent.

Joy Yuan - Goldman Sachs

Okay. Thank you, that’s all from me.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Vicki Chen with UBS. Please proceed.

Vicki Chen - UBS

My question is mainly on the international market. Now there is very strong, healthy growth in the international market. Could you please provide more details on that? For instance, which market has the strongest growth?

I understand you previously mentioned Europe and South America. For instance, which country has the strongest growth and what kind of product segment will be the strongest growth in these international markets. And also, is it mostly in the advanced market you see the strongest growth or in the regular market? And I guess the follow-up is what's your strategy going forward?

Joyce Hsu

Hi, Vicki. We've said in our Press Release and it was on that script that we continue to experience exceptional growth from Europe and also South America and I think what we're seeing in most of the other geographies are also very balanced or very similar growth patterns that we have seen so far this year.

In terms of a particular country, I think what we are focusing on continues to be a two prong approach and one is we focus on Europe and the U.S., which is the developed country and we continue to make really good progress in these two regions.

And on the other hand we are continuing and we are also spending and investing in building up our presence in the developing large population countries and we -- so far we have seen very good results coming out of these investments.

In terms of the products, again what we are seeing here today is the very balanced growth across advanced products because these advance products typically more, have a higher customers' acceptance in the developed countries, but on the lower end side these quite competitively priced products are also very well received in the developing countries.

So it's a very balanced product of growth and I can't really point or draw to you any particular product and tell you that which, you know, there is one single product that is driving this growth because it's very balanced.

Vicki Chen - UBS

Okay, thank you.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Alex Xu with Brean Murray.

Alex Xu - Brean Murray

I just have a quick question following on guidance and such with the margins. If I did the calculations right based on your guidance for the full year, you're basically inclined the net margin, non-GAAP net margin, declined to about 23% in the fourth quarter compared with what you have is 30% in third quarter and close to 30% a year ago quarter on a non-GAAP basis.

You just said that basically the full year gross margin will still be around 55% to 56%, so probably gross margin line won't be dropped that much so can you comment a little bit where are the costs coming up in terms on you know you got spending on marketing or G&A side or R&D side of things or is there any items that I am missing there to talk to the margin decline on the main margin decline? Thanks.

Joyce Hsu

Alex, I think as we said, right now in terms of the outlook we're seeing for the remainder of the year, we do not see anything that's going to lead to deteriorating sales growth pattern or other than the uncertainty of the government tenders, which may or may not.

Even though we're seeing strong pipeline, but the actual sales may or may not be delivered in the fourth quarter this year.

On the margins in terms of the current full year guidance, again our Board has taken the decision not to update the full-year, I'm sorry, not to raise the full-year guidance at this point of time, but the management continues to be very confident for the outlook of the fourth year.

On the expense side, what we can see is in terms of absolute number you will continue to see the upward trend coming from our continued R&D investment as well as our associated selling expense increase from our increased investment in the expanding sales and distribution network.

You're likely to see some increase in G&A number, given that there is a lot of -- some of the miscellaneous expenses are likely to come in before the year-end on the absolute scale.

Alex Xu - Brean Murray

Okay. And then just a quick follow-up on the international market. This quarter will grow about 52% year-over-year. I believe the previous two quarters were stronger than that. Can you comment a little bit about the long-term growth trend on the international market?

I remember in the past you were talking about around 60% growth year-over-year for international markets. Has that view changed or it's just kind of a bump on the road for this quarter? Thanks.

Joyce Hsu

The long-term growth trend, which we have been communicating with our investors for the international sales has always been around 40% to 50% and this year we're seeing actually very good growth, a growth rate that is higher than our expectations, which we updated in the first two quarter.

We've experienced more than 60% growth in the international market and in the third quarter that number continued to be about 50%. So, I don't think there's any change to our long-term growth outlook for the international sales.

Thank you.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Ahmed Hassan with CIBC.

Michael Tu - CIBC

Hi. This is Michael Tu calling in for Ahmed Hassan. Congratulations on a good quarter.

Joyce Hsu

Hi, Michael.

Michael Tu - CIBC

Most of my questions have been answered, but I just had a quick follow-up with regards to some of the new products that you plan to be launching in the fourth quarter. Originally, you had mentioned that you would be launching six to seven new products for the remainder of the year last quarter.

I just wanted to get some idea of what these six products would be like.

Joyce Hsu

In our press release, we have announced that we will be launching several products in the fourth quarter of this year. Most noted the first one being M-5. It's portable color ultrasound. This is expected to launch probably in the next month or so.

We are also launching our biochemistry analyzer. It's called the BS-100. This will be primary target at domestic China, domestic market in China, given that it replaces some of the semi automatic analyzers that are out there in the market and we believe that this would be particularly well received in the government tender market.

The next one is another color ultrasound machine. It's a trolley based color ultrasound called DC-3. This will add to the portfolio of the color ultrasound machines that we have out there currently. Currently we only have one model.

It's DC-6. With the M-5 and the DC-3 we will have a fuller line of color ultrasound suite. We will also be launching compact anesthesia machines. One is called EX55. The other one is called EX65 and this one will be initially launched in domestic China and by the second quarter next year it will be launched internationally.

And then lastly sorry, I am missing. The lastly, we will also be launching our second model of the five-part differential hematology analyzer called BC-5300.

Michael Tu - CIBC

5300 okay. And the last question I have is just regarding the sales regions that you have added offices to. I believe that you were on track to add five additional international offices last quarter in Moscow, San Paolo, Mexico City, Toronto and Amsterdam. You mentioned three of those. Did you also add an office in Russia as well?

Joyce Hsu

Russia is in progress. That should be we're currently searching for a rental site and that should be we're hoping to get this done before the end of the year.

Michael Tu - CIBC

Okay great. Thank you very much. That's all if have and congratulations.

Joyce Hsu

Thank you, Michael.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Michael Castor with FIO. Please proceed.

Michael Castor - FIO

Thank you. What were the sales in each of the international markets as you break them out in your reporting?

Joyce Hsu

I am sorry?

Michael Castor - FIO

The actual sales numbers for the international markets for other Asia, Europe, North America and other, can you break those out for the…

Joyce Hsu

We do not provide those numbers on the quarterly basis. We provide them on the full year basis.

Michael Castor - FIO

Okay. The tax rate that you enjoy as a high tech company is that permanent or is there a specified time when the government re-examines that status?

Joyce Hsu

The high tech enterprise status is re-examined every year and the currently, well, in March this year the Chinese government has just recently issued a new tax law.

Basically they're merging the current tax rate for the foreign owned companies and domestic companies, into a unified tax regime. It's going to be around 25%. In the law it stipulates that if you continue to qualify as a high-tech enterprise company, you will continue to enjoy the tax of around 15%.

Michael Castor - FIO

And finally, over the long-term, have you articulated what your expectation is for a normalized CapEx rate?

Joyce Hsu

No we have not provided such a number. This year and also the next few years review it's going to be years of expansion, meaning that we will be adding a lot of capacity as well as the building.

There's an R&D building, we are currently constructing, so that will impact the normal CapEx patterns but in that trend will be lasting another two to three years.

Michael Castor - FIO

Thank you very much.

Operator

(Operator Instructions) Your next question is a follow-up question from Ben Li with Merrill Lynch. Please proceed.

Ben Li - Merrill Lynch

Thanks for taking my follow up question. I still have a few questions on international sales.

52% is weaker than the previous quarters and I know you cannot quantify the regional sales, but can you at least tell us which region is above or which region is below the 52% year-over-year growth?

Joyce Hsu

So are you particularly talking about the growth rate in the third quarter this year, right?

Ben Li - Merrill Lynch

Yes, yes, exactly.

Joyce Hsu

The other factor, as you know previously I was answering Alex's question. I think, the other factor that's contributing to a lower, relatively lower, growth rate in the third quarter versus the first and second quarter it's also recall last year we had a very strong third quarter international sales.

And, therefore, in this quarter the comparison is flipped because we had last year at this time, we had a much weaker domestic China sales but a much stronger international sales and, therefore, this year even though international sales continue to grow strong, comparatively it is lower than the domestic China growth and also lower than the first two quarters.

Again, we do not see this being a signal to any deteriorating trend to the overall international growth pattern.

Ben Li - Merrill Lynch

Yes, I guess if you were to rank the growth rate among all the regions, which one would be the highest end? Which one would be at the bottom?

Joyce Hsu

I am sorry; can you repeat that question again?

Ben Li - Merrill Lynch

I'm sorry. Yes, so if you were to rank the growth rate for this quarter for international regions, which region will be the highest and which one will be at the bottom?

Joyce Hsu

The highest would be South America. Again, they are pretty similar, and the lowest probably is North America.

Ben Li - Merrill Lynch

So North America is below 52% growth rate?

Joyce Hsu

That's right.

Operator

We are now approaching the end of the conference call. Thank you for your participation in today's conference. This concludes this presentation. You may now disconnect. Good day.

TRANSCRIPT SPONSOR



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