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Multinational mobility supplier Invacare has announced its financial results for the year ended December 31, 2018, reporting a less substantial operating loss of $18.3million to that of 2017’s $21.9million as it continues its Enhanced Transformation and Growth Plan.

One the mobility industry’s largest manufacturers and distributors, the company designs and sells a wide range of mobility devices including manual wheelchairs, powerchairs, scooters, patient handling equipment and more.

The multinational manufacturer saw strong performance in Europe over the year following a program of product rationalisation and new equipment launches to the market.

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Matt Monaghan, chairman, president and chief executive officer, commented: “Europe continues to be the largest and strongest part of our portfolio. We realised net sales growth in the fourth quarter despite strategically reducing sales of less profitable products across Europe during the year. We look forward to continued growth from recent new product introductions in mobility and seating and lifestyles.”

According to the company’s full year financial report, net sales increased by 0.6 percent to $972.3 million, however, constant currency net sales revealed an overall drop of 1.8 percent compared to 2017.

The company attributed the constant currency net sales declines in North America to declines in sales of respiratory and lifestyle products impacted by reimbursement changes, yet noted the loss was offset by 8.0 percent growth in the region’s mobility and seating products.

Discussing this growth in the North American home medical equipment sector (HME), Matt said: “In NA/HME, we are excited about the growth opportunities in mobility and seating as reported net sales increased 8.5 percent for the year, with additional new product introductions expected in 2019.”

With its gross margin as a percentage of net sales decreasing 40 basis points to 27.5 percent however, the company described U.S tariffs had resulted in rising material costs, alongside higher freight costs and unfavourable operational variances in Europe associated with production transfers.

Operating loss was $18.3million, an improvement of $21.9 million compared to 2017, which the company says is primarily related to a $14.9 million decrease in selling, general, and administrative expenses, due to lower employment costs, as well as an $8.8million decrease in restructuring costs.

Reflecting on the company’s performance, Matt said: “We continued to execute on our strategy to return to growth and profitability, and we are proud of the many accomplishments we delivered during the year.

“Looking ahead, we are well positioned to implement our enhanced transformation and growth plan, which we expect will accelerate operational improvements, including a return to profitability in NA/HME. I am confident that 2019 will be a positive period in the company’s journey.”

In addition, the company’s Asia/Pacific operations continued to perform, enjoying growth in sales.

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