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Meridian Bioscience Fiscal Q4, FY17 Revenues Slightly Above Preliminary Report

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Meridian Bioscience today reported a 6 percent increase in fiscal fourth quarter revenues and a 2 percent increase in fiscal year 2017 revenues.

For the quarter ended Sept. 30, the diagnostics manufacturer reported revenue of $49.7 million compared to $47.0 million in the prior year, above analysts' consensus estimate of $48.1 million and slightly above preliminary earnings announced last month of $49.5 million.

Revenues from the firm's diagnostics segment grew 4 percent to $36.0 million from $34.9 million in the previous year, while revenues in the life science segment were up 12 percent to $13.7 million from $12.1 million.

Meridian's net earnings rose slightly to $5.7 million, or $.13 per share, from $5.5 million, or $.13 per share, in fiscal Q4 of 2017. On an adjusted basis, the firm reported earnings of $.15 per share, matching the consensus Wall Street estimate.

In fiscal Q4, Meridian's R&D expenses rose 18 percent to $4.5 million from $3.8 million, while its SG&A expenses increased slightly to $16.6 million from $16.4 million.

For fiscal year 2017, the firm's revenues rose to $200.8 million from $196.1 million in 2016, beating analysts' consensus estimate of $199.1 million and slightly above the firm's preliminary estimates of $200.5 million.

"While in many respects fiscal 2017 represented a year of rebuilding, the entire organization is now energized towards our planned investment initiatives aimed at achieving revenue growth across all business units," Meridian's new Chairman and CEO John Kenny said in a statement.

Revenues from the diagnostics segment fell to $143.5 million from $145.1 million in 2016, while revenues in the life science segment rose to $57.3 million from $51.0 million. The firm's core diagnostic business in the Americas continued to show signs of stabilization, Kenny said, and the life science segment continued to perform well, with top-line growth of 12 percent during fiscal 2017 exceeding internal expectations and new products, such as Meridian's Zika biologicals and JetSeq, positively impacting growth.

"Both units contributed to this growth, with non-molecular reagents revenues growing 15 percent year over year during fiscal 2017, and molecular reagents revenues growing 8 percent," or 12 percent in constant currency, Kenny noted. Investments in the Asia-Pacific markets, including a recently launched Meridian Bioscience Beijing subsidiary, performed well also with revenues in China growing over 40 percent to almost $6 million.

The firm's net earnings for the year fell to $21.6 million, or $.51 per share, from $32.2 million, or $.76 per share, in FY 2016. On an adjusted basis, the firm reported earnings per share of $.67, consistent with its preliminary estimates of non-GAAP earnings per share in the $.66 to $.67 range for the year, but just below Wall Street's consensus estimate of $.68.

For FY 2017, R&D expenses rose 10 percent to $15.7 million from $13.8 million, while SG&A spending rose 7 percent to $64.4 million from $60.4 million.

"On the research and development front we … are confident that we are deploying our investments towards products and platforms that will not only grow Meridian's top and bottom line, but importantly serve to improve patient outcomes," Kenny said, adding that the firm's new Curian diagnostic platform is poised to broaden Meridian's diagnostic portfolio with "important new capabilities in fluorescent technology."

The company ended the year with $57.1 million in cash and cash equivalents.

It also announced an annual indicated cash dividend rate of $.50 per share for fiscal 2018.

For fiscal 2018, Meridian reaffirmed its guidance for revenues of $207 million to $212 million, and non-GAAP earnings per share of $.65 to $.68. Analysts, on average, are expecting revenues of $204.6 million and earnings per share of $.69 for 2018.

In Thursday morning trade on the Nasdaq, shares of Meridian were up 1 percent at $14.80.

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