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Qiagen Cuts Q3 Earnings Forecast Following Terrorist Attacks

NEW YORK, Sept. 21 – Qiagen, of Venlo, the Netherlands, has slashed its third-quarter earnings estimates after disruptions in air traffic following last week's terrorist attacks on the United States resulted in a sharp drop in sales.

Qiagen, which manufactures products for nucleic acid purification, said it now expected to post third-quarter earnings of four cents a share, compared with a previous estimate of seven cents a share. The company expects to report net sales of $63 million.

Following the Sept. 11 attacks, which obliterated the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and severely damaged a part of the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., FedEx, UPS, and other air carriers suspended overnight services, while the US halted all commercial and cargo flights until later in the week.

“Qiagen’s customers within the scientific research markets typically do not keep a significant inventory of Qiagen products and consequently require overnight delivery of purchases,” the company said in a statement released after the close of trading on Thursday.

“As delivery standards currently cannot or can only partially be met, Qiagen customers suspended a significant amount of work requiring nucleic acid purification.”

Qiagen also cited as reasons for its woes the fact that some research institutions, including the National Institutes of Health, headquartered in Bethesda, Md., were closed for several days after the attack.

All told, sales to US research facilities, which generate 60 percent of the company’s net sales, were most severely affected, Qiagen said, adding that sales to Europe and Japan also dipped lower.

Qiagen also noted that revenues from installations of its BioRobot systems would also be lower than originally expected due to traveling restrictions that prevented the company’ sales force from reaching customers throughout the world.

The company said that it was leaving its longer-term estimates unchanged, expecting its business to rebound in the upcoming periods. Wall Street expects the company to post earnings of eight cents a share in the fourth quarter.

Qiagen’s shares have been heading lower since reaching a 52-week high of $48.75 nearly one year ago. On Thursday, Qiagen closed down $1.94, or 12 percent, at $14.20.

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