GENEVA—Alcon (SIX/NYSE:ALC) reported Tuesday that its worldwide sales in the second quarter rose 75 percent on a reported basis to $2.1 billion. The increase was 69 percent on a constant currency basis when compared with the year-ago period, the company said in its earnings announcement. The company noted that it experienced growth in all surgical and vision care categories in the quarter, which ended June 30, 2021. The second quarter operating income totaled $229 million, which includes charges of $128 million. Excluding this and other adjustments, second-quarter 2021 core operating income was $382 million.

The prior year period saw a broad slowdown in non-urgent surgeries and lower demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company noted. The core operating margin of 18.2 percent also increased versus the prior year, mainly driven by higher sales, gross margin and operating leverage, as sales growth outpaced increases in marketing and selling expenses, and research and development, Alcon said.
Upon reporting results, Alcon raised its full-year sales and earnings guidance to a sales range of $8.0 to $8.2 billion, and core diluted earnings per share between a range of $2.00 and $2.10.
"Our second-quarter performance demonstrates the strength and resilience of our businesses, with our highest quarterly sales and earnings since our spin-off," said David Endicott, Alcon's chief executive officer. "Strong commercial execution behind our new product launches resulted in all sales categories in surgical and vision care posting growth over 2019, notwithstanding the continued impact of COVID-19."
He added, "The healthy recovery in the business underlies our confidence in driving top-line growth with continued innovation and the growing demand for eyecare. With the ongoing expansion of our manufacturing capacity, we remain focused on maintaining a steady stream of product flow as we expand our portfolio and respond to market demand.”
In its vision care business unit, Alcon said it experienced a “return to growth” in the most recent quarter, which it attributed, in part, to strong demand for its Precision1 contact lenses and the Systane and Pataday products.
Vision care net sales totaled $0.9 billion (which includes contact lenses and ocular health), an increase of 49 percent. Contact lens growth reflected improvements in all product categories and continued momentum from the launch of Precision1 and Precision1 for Astigmatism, Alcon said. Growth in ocular health was led by Systane and Pataday, primarily due to the recent launch of Pataday Extra Strength.
For the first half of 2021, Vision care net sales increased 20 percent, or 17 percent on a constant currency basis, compared with the first half of 2020.
In raising its financial guidance, Alcon said it assumes that global markets “return to 2019 levels at the end of the year,” and that the U.S. market will “continue to grow relative to 2019 in the second half of the year and that international markets will return to 2019 levels early next year.”