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Dentistry braces for COVID-19 losses

By Jeremy Booth, Dental Tribune International
July 29, 2020

LEIPZIG, Germany: The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has caused significant disruptions to the provision of dental care around the world. Patient volumes decreased by as much as 80% in April, and the financial repercussions for dentists have been significant. As the second quarter draws to a close, the world’s largest dental companies are beginning to reveal the state of their books.

Dental Tribune International reported in February that 2019 had been a year of new achievements for the world’s leading clear aligner manufacturer, Align Technology. In 2019, sales increased by 22.4% to reach a record US$2.4 billion (€2.04 billion), and the company shipped more than 1.5 million clear aligner cases—more than it had done in any previous 12-month period.

Align is the first major dental company to release its results for the second quarter, and they illustrate just how different industry earnings for this year are likely to be. The company shipped just under 222,000 Invisalign cases in the second quarter—41.2% fewer than it had done in the same period last year. Total revenue was US$352 million, down 41.3%. For the quarter, Align posted an operating loss of US$73 million, down 141.4% on the operating profit of US$176.5 million that it had posted for the second quarter in 2019.

John F. Morici, chief financial officer and senior vice president of global finance at Align, told investors in a webcast conference call that the company would not be providing forward-looking guidance, owing to the uncertainties surrounding possible further waves of SARS-CoV-2 infection and the potential national and local restrictions that a rebound in infection rates is likely to trigger.

Industry leaders review second quarter

Other major dental companies are set to provide their financial results for the second quarter in the coming two weeks. Envista Holdings, which owns the dental companies KaVo Kerr, Nobel Biocare Systems and Ormco, will release its results tomorrow and discuss them in a webcast conference call on the same day. Global distributor Henry Schein will host a conference call and release its results on 4 August, followed by 3D Systems on 5 August and Dentsply Sirona on 6 August. Tele-orthodontics provider SmileDirectClub will report results and host a conference call on 12 August.

The Straumann Group announced in May that it would shrink its global workforce by 9% this year in order to align its costs with reduced revenues, and the company is yet to make known the date on which it will release its mid-year results. In May, the company’s CEO, Guillaume Daniellot, commented: “Coronavirus has left its mark on the past months and we must be prepared to address the impact of the pandemic on disposable incomes and consumer confidence in the coming quarters.”

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