Central Garden suffers deeper operating loss

Walnut Creek-based Central Garden & Pet said its operating loss worsened but sales rose for the company's fourth quarter that ended in September.

Central Garden suffered an operating loss of $8.5 million and an overall loss of $10.1 million for the quarter. That compared with a year-ago operating loss of $4.6 million and an overall loss of $10.9 million.

Sales totaled $397.2 million, up 5.4 percent from the year-ago-quarter.

For all of fiscal 2012, Central Garden earned $21.2 million on sales of $1.7 billion. Compared to fiscal 2011, profits plunged 25.2 percent while sales rose 4.4 percent.

"Our fourth-quarter bottom line was impacted by several factors, including declines in our decor business, higher marketing and innovation expenditures, and investments related to our transformation," said Gus Halas, CEO of Central Operating Companies.

Thoratec's HeartMate pump OK'd in Japan

Pleasanton-based Thoratec said Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has given the go-ahead for the company to market its HeartMate II for use in Japan.

HeartMate II would be used as a bridge to heart transplants for patients suffering from advanced heart failure, the heart pump maker said.

"Approval in Japan marks a significant milestone in Thoratec's efforts to disseminate HeartMate II to advanced heart failure patients worldwide," Thoratec CEO Gary Burbach said.

Thoratec will undertake distribution in Japan with a partner in that nation, Nipro.

Commercial launch of HeartMate II in Japan is scheduled toward the end of the January-March quarter in 2013. The initial launch will be aimed at 15 hospitals and other medical facilities.

-- Staff