Medical device specialist Smith & Nephew reported first quarter results in line with expectations and gave an optimistic assessment of its full-year prospects yesterday, although its London FTSE-listed shares slipped back a percentage point on what appeared to be profit-taking.

The group’s revenues climbed 11.5% to £330 million, while earnings per share rose 15% over the first quarter of 2004 to 5.39 pence, continuing the growth trend evident in 2004 [[04/04/05c]]. Trading profit came in at £65.5 million, up 17%, driven by a strong performance from Smith & Nephew’s orthopaedics division, which saw revenues increase 17% to £165 million on the back of good demand for hip- and knee-replacement products. The US business did particularly well, with a 23% revenue increase.

Looking ahead to the remainder of 2005, Smith & Nephew said that it anticipates growth in the orthopaedics business to improve even further to post an 18% sales increase for the full year.

The company’s endoscopy business - which makes products for keyhole surgeries - also performed well in the first quarter, building sales 10% to £79 million, while its wound management business climbed 4% to £86 million. The latter unit grew more slowly than expected due to distributors reducing their inventory levels, but overall growth in 2005 is forecast to reach 7%, helped by the launch of Acticoat Moisture Control in the US last month.