Alcon Says ‘Significant Recovery’ in Q3 Sales Improved Operating Results

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GENEVA, Switzerland—Noting that it sees a “strong market recovery” underway, Alcon (SIX/NYSE:ALC) reported this week that its sales in the third quarter totaled $1.8 billion, a decrease of 1 percent on both a reported and constant currency basis. However, the company noted in an announcement late Tuesday that a significant recovery in third quarter sales helped to drive a “strong improvement in operating results” compared with 2020’s second quarter. Alcon also said that it has seen momentum in its new products PanOptix trifocal lens and Precision1 contact lenses that are “driving market share gains.”

In addition, the quarter ended Sept. 30 saw “continued progress on strategic initiatives, including separation, SAP implementation, transformation and advancement of our new contact lens manufacturing lines.”

Demand for eyecare in both optometry and ophthalmology franchises rebounded from second quarter levels and “outpaced the market recovery due to solid performance of key product initiatives and market share gains,” Alcon said.

For the nine-month period, Alcon said worldwide sales were $4.8 billion, a decrease of 12 percent or 11 percent on a constant currency basis. This was primarily due to a broad slowdown from the COVID-19 pandemic in the second quarter with substantial recovery in the third quarter, the announcement noted.

On the bottom line, Alcon reported a net loss of $147 million in the recent quarter, which compares with $66 million in the year-ago period.

“Our third-quarter results demonstrate strong performance on the back of solid market recovery as both ophthalmology and optometry practices increased their patient flow, particularly in the U.S.,” chief executive officer David Endicott said in the earnings announcement this week. “I am pleased with the progress we're making on our strategic initiatives, while managing change in a challenging environment.”

In the vision care segment, net sales totaled $822 million, which includes contact lenses and ocular health. The result was “flat” on a reported and constant currency basis compared with the third quarter of 2019.

“A strong performance in Precision1, the company's newest daily SiHy contact lens, Pataday drops for allergy relief and Systane drops for dry eye were offset by declines in other daily disposable lenses, artificial tears and contact lens care,” the company said. Vision care net sales for the first nine months of 2020 decreased 6 percent, or 5 percent on a constant currency basis, compared with the nine-month period of 2019.

Endicott added, "The investments we have made in our people, culture and infrastructure have gone a long way in building significant organizational resilience. Our innovation is meeting customer and patient needs as evidenced by strong market share gains. We believe we are well positioned to drive topline growth and create long-term shareholder value as the markets continue to recover.”