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Qiagen Q1 Revenues Up 7 Percent on Strong Instrument Sales

NEW YORK – Qiagen reported after the close of the market on Wednesday that its first quarter revenues grew 7 percent year over year, or up 9 percent at a constant exchange rate (CER).

For the three months ended March 31, Qiagen posted $372.1 million in revenues compared to $348.7 million in the year-ago period. It beat the analysts' average estimate of $344.9 million.

"Our results for the first quarter of 2020 reflect the very significant demand for products used in COVID-19 testing, which more than offset weaker trends in other areas of the business," Qiagen CEO Thierry Bernard said in a statement. He added that the company is working to "dramatically ramp up production capacity, in particular with plans for a fiftyfold increase in our output of viral RNA extraction kits."

Qiagen said that by the end of April, it was able to produce enough viral RNA extraction reagents to support more than 7 million real-time PCR tests per month for detecting SARS-CoV-2, and it is set to reach more than 10 million patient tests per month by the end of Q2. By the end of the year, Qiagen expects to reach more than 20 million patient tests each month and is working to increase the availability of instruments used to process the kits.

Bernard added that the company is progressing on R&D projects to develop additional PCR solutions for detecting the coronavirus, as well as new research tools that might be used in the development of vaccines and treatments for the disease.

At the end of March, Qiagen received Emergency Use Authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration for the firm's QiaStat-Dx Respiratory SARS-CoV-2 panel and is now developing an antibody test that would be complementary to real-time PCR tests to assess how many individuals, including those who may have been asymptomatic, were infected with the coronavirus. 

Qiagen is in the process of being acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific for $11.5 billion, a transaction that is expected to close in mid-2021, and did not hold a conference call to discuss its financial results.

By product category, consumables and related products revenues rose 4 percent (CER 6 percent) year over year during Q1 to $326 million. Instrument sales were up 29 percent (CER 32 percent) to $46 million on demand for the QIAsymphony automation system, the QIAcube Connect sample processing instrument, and the QIAstat-Dx syndromic testing instrument, the company said.

By customer class, molecular diagnostics revenues increased 4 percent (CER 7 percent) year over year to $176 million, while life sciences revenues improved 9 percent (CER 10 percent) to $196 million.

Qiagen noted that during the recently completed quarter there was "significant demand" for solutions used in the COVID-19 pandemic, while other parts of its portfolio experienced weaker customer demand.

The firm cut its R&D spending 15 percent to $34.8 million from $40.8 million in Q1 2019 and trimmed its SG&A costs a fraction of 1 percent to $124.0 million from $124.5 million.

Qiagen posted a profit of $39.8 million, or $.17 per share, in Q1 2020 compared to a profit of $29.5 million, or $.13 per share, a year ago. Adjusted EPS was $.34 and beat the consensus Wall Street estimate of $.27 per share.

The company exited Q1 with $656.8 million in cash and cash equivalents and $87.9 million in short-term investments.

On Tuesday, it said that it anticipates Q2 net sales growth of at least 12 percent at CER and adjusted EPS of at least $.40 at CER.

CFO Roland Sackers said in the company statement that while the firm anticipates growth trends from the first half of 2020 to continue for the full year, uncertainties resulting from the coronavirus pandemic make it impossible to reliably predict what will happen. As a result, Qiagen is suspending its outlook for full-year 2020.

In February, the firm had said that for full-year 2020, net sales growth was expected to be between 3 percent and 4 percent at CER. Adjusted EPS was anticipated to be between $1.52 and $1.54 at CER.