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IIN > SEC Filings for IIN > Form 10-Q on 13-Nov-2012All Recent SEC Filings

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Quarterly Report

ITEM 2. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

Business Overview

Headquartered in Arden Hills, Minnesota, IntriCon Corporation (together with its subsidiaries referred to as the "Company", "IntriCon," "we", "us" or "our") is an international company engaged in designing, developing, engineering and manufacturing body-worn devices.

In addition to its operations in Minnesota, the Company has facilities in Maine, California, Singapore, Indonesia and Germany.

Information contained in this section of this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q and expressed in U.S. dollars is presented in thousands (000s), except for per share data and as otherwise noted.

Core Technologies Overview

IntriCon serves the body-worn device market by designing, developing, engineering and manufacturing micro-miniature products, microelectronics, micro-mechanical assemblies and complete assemblies, primarily for bio-telemetry devices, hearing instruments and professional audio communication devices. Over the past five years, the Company has increased investments in the continued development of four critical core technologies: Ultra-Low-Power (ULP) Digital Signal Processing (DSP), Ultra-Low-Power Wireless, Microminiaturization, and Miniature Transducers. These four core technologies serve as the foundation of current and future product platform development, designed to meet the rising demand for smaller, portable more advanced devices. The continued advancements in this area have allowed the Company to further enhance the mobility and effectiveness of miniature body-worn devices.

Ultra-Low-Power Digital Signal Processing

DSP converts real-world analog signals into a digital format. Through its nanoDSP™technology, IntriCon offers an extensive range of ULP DSP amplifiers for hearing, medical and professional audio applications. Our proprietary nanoDSP incorporates advanced ultra-miniature hardware with sophisticated signal processing algorithms to produce devices that are smaller and more effective.

The Company has recently made improvements on its Reliant CLEAR™feedback canceller, offering increased added stable gain and faster reaction time. The Company also introduced its patent pending AcousTAP™Switch, allowing the user to change programs when the ear is patted, which eliminates the physical push button, saving size and cost.

Ultra-Low-Power Wireless

Wireless connectivity is fast becoming a required technology, and wireless capabilities are especially critical in new body-worn devices. IntriCon's BodyNet™ULP technology, including the nanoLink™ and PhysioLink™ wireless systems, offers solutions for transmitting the body's activities to caregivers, and wireless audio links for professional communications and surveillance products. Potential BodyNet applications include electrocardiogram (ECG) diagnostics and monitoring, diabetes monitoring, sleep apnea studies and audio streaming for hearing aids.

IntriCon is in the final stages of commercializing its PhysioLink wireless technology, which will be incorporated into product platforms serving the medical, hearing health and professional audio communication markets. This system is based on 2.4GHz proprietary digital radio protocol in the industrial-scientific-medical (ISM) frequency band and enables audio and data streaming to ear-worn and body-worn applications over distances of up to five meters.


At IntriCon, we are experts in miniaturization. We began honing our microminiaturization skills over 30 years ago, supplying components to the hearing health industry. Our core miniaturization technology allows us to make devices for our markets that are one cubic inch and smaller. We also are specialists in devices that run on very low power, as evidenced by our ULP wireless and DSP. Less power means a smaller battery, which enables us to reduce size even further, and develop devices that fit into the palm of one's hand.

Miniature Transducers

IntriCon's advanced microphone and receiver technology has been pushing the limits of size and performance for over a decade. In 2007, we increased our product portfolio and expertise in miniature transducers through the acquisition of Tibbetts Industries, Inc. Our miniature transducers, which have been incorporated into various product platforms, enhance the reliability, sensitivity, supply voltage, and output level in body-worn devices. These enhancements allow us to make devices that are extremely portable and perform well in noisy or hazardous environments. We recently introduced our 151Hi SPL microphone which provides the latest advances in microphone technology. These small devices are well-suited for applications in the aviation, fire, law enforcement, safety and military markets. Our technology also is used for technical surveillance by law enforcement and security agencies, and by performers and production staff in the music and stage performance markets. Also included in our transducer line are medical coils and micro coils used in pacemaker programming and interventional catheter positioning applications.

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Market Overview

Our core technologies expertise is focused on three main markets: medical, hearing health and professional audio communications.


In the medical market, the Company is focused on sales of bio-telemetry devices for life-critical diagnostic monitoring. Using our nanoDSP and ULP nanoLink technology, the Company manufactures microelectronics, micro-mechanical assemblies, high-precision injection-molded plastic components and complete bio-telemetry devices for emerging and leading medical device manufacturers. Targeted customers include medical product manufacturers of portable and lightweight battery powered devices.

The medical industry is faced with pressures to reduce the cost of healthcare. IntriCon currently serves this market by offering medical manufacturers the capabilities to design, develop and manufacture components for medical devices that are easier to use, are more miniature, use less power, and are lighter. These devices measure with greater accuracy and provide more functions while reducing the costs to manufacture these devices. The industry-wide trend toward further miniaturization and ambulatory operation enabled by wireless connectivity is commonly referred to as bio-telemetry. Through the further development of our ULP BodyNet family, we believe the bio-telemetry offers a significant future opportunity. Increasingly, the medical industry is looking for wireless, low-power capabilities in their devices. We believe our strategic partnership with Advanced Medical Electronics Corp. (AME) will allow us to develop new bio-telemetry devices that better connect patients and care givers, providing critical information and feedback. Current examples of IntriCon bio-telemetry products used by medical device manufacturers include wireless continuous glucose monitors that measure glucose levels and provide real-time blood glucose trend information and cardiac diagnostic monitoring (CDM) devices.

Centauri, the Company's first generation CDM device, received 510(k) approval with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in August of 2011. The features of the Centauri electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor are event recording combined with wireless transmission of the patient data to a remote service center, which then forwards the information to the doctor.

The Sirona, a CDM device which incorporates PhysioLink technology, received FDA 510(k) approval in November of 2011. The Sirona ECG platform is essentially two products in one design because it can be used as an event recorder and a holter monitor. This platform is very small, rechargeable, and water spray proof. The Company continues to anticipate these products will generate initial revenue in the 2012 fourth quarter and ramp up in 2013.

In addition, IntriCon manufactures and supplies bubble sensors and flow restrictors that monitor and control the flow of fluid in an intravenous infusion system. IntriCon also manufactures a family of safety needle products for an original equipment manufacturing (OEM) customer that utilizes IntriCon's insert and straight molding capabilities. These products are assembled using full automation, including built-in quality checks within the production lines.

Hearing Health

IntriCon manufactures hybrid amplifiers and integrated circuit components ("hybrid amplifiers"), along with faceplates for in-the-ear and in-the-canal hearing instruments. IntriCon is a leading manufacturer and supplier of microminiature electromechanical components to hearing instrument manufacturers. These components consist of volume controls, microphones, receivers, trimmer potentiometers and switches. Components are offered in a variety of sizes, colors and capacities in order to accommodate a hearing instrument manufacturer's individualized specifications.

Hearing instruments, which fit behind or in a person's ear to amplify and process sound for a hearing impaired person, generally are composed of four basic parts and several supplemental components for control or fitting purposes. The four basic parts are microphones, amplifier circuits, miniature receivers/speakers and batteries, all of which IntriCon manufactures, with the exception of the battery. IntriCon's hybrid amplifiers are a type of amplifier circuit. Supplemental components include volume controls, trimmer potentiometers, which shape sound frequencies to respond to the particular nature of a person's hearing loss, and switches used to turn the instrument on and off and to go from telephone to normal speech modes. Faceplates and an ear shell, molded to fit the user's ear, often serve as housing for hearing instruments. IntriCon manufactures its components on a short lead-time basis in order to supply "just-in-time" delivery to its customers and, consequently, order backlog amounts are not meaningful.

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Based on our investments in core technologies, specifically nanoDSP and our new wireless PhysioLink technologies, IntriCon is building a new generation of affordable, high-quality hearing aids and similar amplifier devices under contracts for OEM's. DSP devices have better clarity, attractive pricing points and an improved ability to filter out background noise. During 2010, we introduced the Overtus™ DSP amplifier. The Overtus DSP amplifier is designed to optimize open in the canal (ITC) type fittings. The amplifier algorithm contains two patented features, an advanced adaptive feedback canceller, Reliant CLEAR, optimized for open ITC fittings and an acoustic switch, AcousTAP, eliminating the need for a mechanical switch and allowing for further miniaturization. Further, with the Overtus technology, we have developed our own complete hearing device, the all-new, patent-pending APT™ Open ITC. The APT is powered by the Overtus which includes our Reliant CLEAR adaptive feedback canceller and the AcousTAP acoustic push button. In addition, the APT utilizes the patent pending Concha Lock System technology that allows for the suspension of an open in-the-ear device in the ear canal. These features create stable and effective amplification, occlusion-free comfort and easy integration into existing fitting systems. Our OEM customers now have the option of using Overtus in their own devices, or purchasing our complete APT device. We believe the introductions of the APT and Lumen devices and the Overtus amplifier will solidify our position as a leader of high-performance adaptive DSP hearing instrument amplifiers.

In October 2011, the Company announced it entered into a manufacturing agreement to become a manufacturer of hearing aids to hi HealthInnovations, a UnitedHealth Group company. hi HealthInnovations launched a suite of high-tech, lower-cost hearing devices for their Medicare and Part D participants and the over 26 million people enrolled in their employer-sponsored and individual health benefit plans. An estimated 75 percent of people who can benefit from hearing devices do not use them, largely due to the high cost. hi HealthInnovations offers consumers technically advanced hearing aids, including those based on the APT hearing aid platform.

Overall, we believe the hearing health market holds significant opportunities for the Company. In the United States, Europe and Japan, the 65-year-old-plus age demographic is one of the fastest growing segments of the population, and many of those individuals could, at some point, benefit from a hearing device that uses IntriCon's proprietary technology.

Professional Audio Communications

IntriCon entered the high-quality audio communication device market in 2001, and now has a line of miniature, professional audio headset products used by customers focusing on homeland security and emergency response needs. The line includes several communication devices that are extremely portable and perform well in noisy or hazardous environments. These products are well suited for applications in the fire, law enforcement, safety, aviation and military markets. In addition, the Company has a line of miniature ear- and head-worn devices used by performers and support staff in the music and stage performance markets. The Company also serves U.S. government security agencies in this market. We believe performance in difficult listening environments and wireless operations will continue to improve as these products increasingly include our proprietary nanoDSP, wireless nanoLink and PhysioLink technologies.

During 2013, we will begin marketing our line of situational listening devices (SLD's) intended to help people hear in noisy environments like restaurants and automobiles, and listen to television, music, and direct broadcast by wireless connection. Such devices are intended to be supplements to conventional hearing aids, which do not handle those situations well. The SLD's will be based on our PhysioLink technology, which were recently demonstrated at the annual convention of the American Academy of Audiology. The product line consists of an earpiece, TV transmitter, companion microphone, iPod/iPhone transmitter, and USB transmitter.

Forward-Looking and Cautionary Statements

Certain statements included in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q or documents the Company files with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which are not historical facts, or that include forward-looking terminology such as "may", "will", "believe", "anticipate", "expect", "should", "optimistic" "continue", "estimate", "intend", "plan", "would", "could", "guidance", "potential", "opportunity", "project", "forecast", "confident", "projections", "schedule", "designed", "future", "discussion", "if" or the negative thereof or other variations thereof, are forward-looking statements (as such term is defined in
Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, and the regulations thereunder), which are intended to be covered by the safe harbors created thereby. These statements may include, but are not limited to statements in "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" and "Notes to the Company's Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements" such as net operating loss carryforwards, the ability to meet cash requirements for operating needs, the ability to meet liquidity needs, assumptions used to calculate future level of funding of employee benefit plans, the adequacy of insurance coverage, the impact of new accounting pronouncements and litigation.

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Forward-looking statements also include, without limitation, statements as to the Company's expected future results of operations and growth, the Company's ability to meet working capital requirements, the Company's business strategy, the expected increases in operating efficiencies, anticipated trends in the Company's markets, estimates of goodwill impairments and amortization expense of other intangible assets, estimates of future royalty payments from the Global Coils sale, the effects of changes in accounting pronouncements, the effects of litigation and the amount of insurance coverage, and statements as to trends or the Company's or management's beliefs, expectations and opinions.

Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties and may be affected by various factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. In addition to the factors discussed in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, certain risks, uncertainties and other factors can cause actual results and developments to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, the following:

§ the ability to successfully implement the Company's business and growth strategy;

§ risks arising in connection with the insolvency of our former subsidiary, Selas SAS, and potential liabilities and actions arising in connection therewith;

§ potential obligations to indemnify the purchaser of our former electronics business for certain material claims that may arise;

§ the volume and timing of orders received by the Company;

§ changes in estimated future cash flows;

§ ability to collect on our accounts receivable;

§ foreign currency movements in markets the Company services;

§ changes in the global economy and financial markets;

§ weakening demand for the Company's products due to general economic conditions;

§ changes in the mix of products sold;

§ ability to meet demand;

§ changes in customer requirements;

§ timing and extent of research and development expenses;

§ FDA approval, timely release and acceptance of the Company's products;

§ competitive pricing pressures;

§ pending and potential future litigation;

§ cost and availability of electronic components and commodities for the Company's products;

§ ability to create and market products in a timely manner and develop products that are inexpensive to manufacture;

§ ability to comply with covenants in our debt agreements;

§ ability to repay debt when it comes due;

§ the loss of one or more of our major customers;

§ ability to identify, complete and integrate acquisitions;

§ effects of legislation;

§ effects of foreign operations;

§ foreign currency risks;

§ ability to develop new products such as Centauri, Overtus, Scenic and APT;

§ ability to recruit and retain engineering and technical personnel;

§ the costs and risks associated with research and development investments;

§ risks under our manufacturing agreement with hi HealthInnovations;

§ the risk that the royalties under the Global Coils sale agreement will be less than estimated;
§ the recent recessions in Europe and the debt crisis in certain countries in the European Union;

§ our ability and the ability of our customers to protect intellectual property; and

§ loss of members of our senior management team.

For a description of these and other risks, see Part I, "Item 1A. Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011, and other risks described elsewhere in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, or in other filings the Company makes from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company does not undertake to update any forward-looking statement that may be made from time to time by or on behalf of the Company.

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Results of Operations

Sales, net

Our net sales are comprised of three main markets: medical, hearing health, and
professional audio communications. Below is a summary of our sales by main
markets for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2012 and 2011:

Three months ended September  30      2012         2011       Dollars       Percent
Medical                             $  5,526     $  5,833     $   (308 )        (5.3 %)
Hearing Health                         4,560        4,900         (340 )        (6.9 %)
Professional Audio Communications      4,818        3,140        1,678          53.4 %
Consolidated Net Sales              $ 14,904     $ 13,873     $  1,030           7.4 %

Nine months ended September  30
Medical                             $ 17,813     $ 17,016     $    797           4.7 %
Hearing Health                        18,334       15,613        2,721          17.4 %
Professional Audio Communications     11,121        8,955        2,166          24.2 %
Consolidated Net Sales              $ 47,268     $ 41,584     $  5,684          13.7 %

For the three and nine months ended September 30, 2012, we experienced a decrease of 5.3 percent and an increase of 4.7 percent, respectively, in net sales in the medical market compared to the same periods in 2011. The three month decrease was driven by a temporary lull in demand from some of our key customers. We have since seen the demand return to expected levels. The nine month increase is driven by higher sales to Medtronic and other key medical customers. Management believes there is an industry-wide trend toward further miniaturization and ambulatory operation enabled by wireless connectivity, referred to as bio-telemetry, which in the past resulted in further growth in our medical business. We are also working with our strategic partner, AME, on proprietary biotelemetry technologies that will enable us to develop new devices that connect patients and care givers, providing critical information and feedback.

Net sales in our hearing health business for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2012 decreased 6.9 percent and increased 17.4 percent, respectively, compared to the same periods in 2011. Decreases in the three month period were due, in part, to reduced purchases by hi Health Innovations and the continued softness in the conventional channel. Increases in the nine month period were primarily driven by sales to hi HealthInnovations . As of mid-2012, we have satisfied hi HealthInnovations' initial product ramp-up needs for 2012 and in the near term we expect minimal new orders. The hi HealthInnovations program is based on a development of an innovative new distribution channel. While hi HealthInnovations continues to make progress, there are challenges to be overcome and it is difficult to project program needs at this time; however, we do believe in the long-term potential of this program. We continue to support hi HealthInnovations in building the infrastructure to provide high quality, affordable hearing healthcare to their customers. Examples of our efforts include the development and validation of hardware and software, providing quality management system support, and device tracking and analysis support. We believe this will position hi HealthInnovations to aggressively expand this program to their customer base. We believe long term prospects in our hearing health business remain strong as we continue to develop and launch advanced technologies, such as our nanoDSP, Overtus, APT and Lumen products, which will enhance the performance of hearing devices. Further, we believe the market indicators in the hearing health industry, including the aging world population, suggest long-term industry growth.

Net sales to the professional audio device sector increased 53.4 percent and 24.2 percent, respectively, for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2012 compared to the same periods in 2011. The significant increase over the prior year was due to continued demand for securities products domestically and to the partial fulfillment of a large foreign headset contract. The remainder of the foreign order will be filled in the fourth quarter of the 2012. We believe our extensive portfolio of communication devices that are portable, smaller and perform well in noisy or hazardous environments will provide for future long-term growth in this market.

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Gross profit

Gross profit, both in dollars and as a percent of sales, for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2012 and 2011, was as follows:

                                            2012                        2011                       Change
                                                 Percent                     Percent
Three months ended September  30   Dollars       of Sales      Dollars       of Sales      Dollars       Percent
Gross profit                       $  3,225           21.6 %   $  3,084           22.2 %   $    141           4.6 %

Nine months ended September  30
Gross profit                       $ 11,059           23.4 %   $  9,323           22.4 %   $  1,736          18.6 %

In 2012, gross profit increased primarily due to greater sales across our three core markets, partially offset by infrastructure costs in Asia. The Company further expanded its low-cost manufacturing capabilities during the nine months ended September 30, 2012. The continued ramp-up of the Company's Indonesian facility provides low-cost manufacturing options to drive ongoing margin improvement and the ability to pursue additional high-volume manufacturing opportunities. In addition, the Company increased the medical manufacturing infrastructure at its Singapore facility to support the transfer of certain medical business. The Company expects that these lower-cost locations will allow the Company to be more cost competitive as a whole and will provide margin improvement as select labor intensive programs are transferred.

Sales and Marketing, General and Administrative and Research and Development

Sales and marketing, general and administrative and research and development
expenses for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2012 and 2011 were:

                                            2012                        2011                       Change
                                                 Percent                     Percent
Three months ended September  30   Dollars       of Sales      Dollars       of Sales       Dollars       Percent
Sales and marketing                $    734            4.9 %   $    734            5.3 %   $       -             -
General and administrative            1,504           10.1 %      1,486           10.7 %          18           1.2 %
Research and development              1,243            8.3 %      1,326            9.6 %         (83 )        (6.3 %)

Nine months ended September  30
Sales and marketing                $  2,363            5.0 %   $  2,422            5.8 %   $     (59 )        (2.4 %)
General and administrative            4,744           10.0 %      4,382           10.5 %         362           8.3 %
Research and development              3,513            7.4 %      3,600            8.7 %         (87 )        (2.4 %)

Sales and marketing expenses were comparable to prior year periods. General and administrative expenses increased over the prior year periods primarily due to the new Indonesia manufacturing facility. Research and development decreased over the prior year three and nine month periods primarily due to a temporary reduction in fee for service work by third parties.

Interest expense

Net interest expense for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2012 was $210 and $588, respectively, compared to $144 and $431 for the respective periods in 2011. The increase in interest expense was primarily due to higher average debt balances and higher interest rates as compared to the prior year.

Equity in income (loss) of partnerships

The equity in income (loss) of partnerships for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2012 was ($39) and ($77), respectively, compared to ($12) and $317 for the respective periods in 2011, due to changes in carrying amounts described below.

The Company recorded decreases of $39 and $127 in the carrying amount of the . . .

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