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Bio-Rad Q4 Revenues Climb 4 Percent

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Bio-Rad Laboratories said after the close of the market on Tuesday that fourth-quarter revenues improved 4 percent year over year as the firm beat the average analyst estimate on the top and bottom lines.

The company took in $573.8 million in revenues for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2012, up from $550.2 million a year ago, easily surpassing the average analyst estimate of $558.7 million.

On a currency-neutral basis, revenues were up 6 percent year over year, Bio-Rad said.

Life Science revenues increased about 3 percent year over year to $204.2 million, as it benefitted from the sales of its process chromatography media and electrophoresis products and the QX100 Droplet Digital PCR system it acquired with the purchase of QuantaLife in October 2011.

On a currency-neutral basis, revenues in the segment increased 4 percent, the company said.

The Clinical Diagnostics segment saw a 5 percent uptick in revenues year over year, or 8 percent increase on a currency-neutral basis, to $365.9 million in the quarter.

Bio-Rad had a profit of $47.5 million, or $1.65 per share in the fourth quarter, compared to a profit of $59.2 million, or $2.08 per share, a year ago. Wall Street had a consensus profit estimate of $1.34 per share.

During the recently completed quarter, Bio-Rad had a one-time gain of $4.3 million from the sale of real estate and in increase in investment income, the firm said.

R&D spending was up 19 percent to $59.8 million from $50.1 million a year ago, while SG&A costs rose 8 percent to $189.1 million from $174.9 million a year ago.

For full-year 2012 Bio-Rad posted $2.07 billion in revenues, essentially flat with 2011 levels and edging out the consensus analyst estimate of $2.05 billion. On a currency-neutral basis, revenues increased 4 percent year over year, it said.

Life Science revenues slid about 1 percent to $688.4 million. Revenues in the segment were up 2 percent year over year on a currency-neutral basis.

Clinical Diagnostics had $1.37 billion in revenues in 2012, essentially flat compared to 2011. On a currency-neutral basis, revenues in the segment were up 5 percent year over year, Bio-Rad said, adding the segment saw strength across all product lines, but especially in quality controls, blood typing, and diabetes-monitoring products.

Profits for 2012 slipped to $169.2 million, or $5.91 per share, compared to a profit of $178.2 million, or $6.26 per share, in 2011, as the decline reflects lower gross margins and higher R&D expenses, the company said. It still beat Wall Street EPS estimates of $5.70.

Earnings in 2012 were favorably impacted by a $16.1 million reduction in the valuation of contingent consideration associated with the purchase of QuantaLife and an increase in other income from certain investment gains, Bio-Rad added.

R&D spending was up 15 percent to $214.0 million from $186.4 million in 2011. SG&A spending shrank 2 percent to $682.9 million from $696.3 million.

Bio-Rad ended 2012 with $463.4 in cash and cash equivalents.

On a conference call following the release of its earnings results, Bio-Rad CFO Christine Tsingos said that the firm is "pleased with our operating results" particularly in light of a challenging macroenvironment for both the tools and diagnostics spaces.

In 2013, economic headwinds are expected to continue, she said, especially in Europe, as well as in the US where uncertainty over sequestration and possible cuts in funding to the National Institutes of Health continue to swirl.

A strong product lineup should offset some of the challenges, Tsingos said. Bio-Rad has begun shipping its S3 Cell Sorter flow cytometry system, purchased from Propel Labs, and will soon launch a next-generation chromatography system used for protein purification in the academic and biopharmaceutical markets.

In diagnostics, the firm is eyeing new opportunities in blood typing, diabetes monitoring, and quality control markets.

For full-year 2013, currency-neutral sales growth is anticipated to be in the 3 percent to 3.5 percent range, Tsingos said.

Last month, Bio-Rad completed its buy of AbD Serotec for about $70 million. Preliminary estimates are that the purchase will add $20 million to $25 million in incremental sales in 2013 but will lower operating income by $7 million to $10 million in the year, Tsingos said.

Greater clarity on the effect of the purchase will be provided during the first-quarter earnings release, Tsingos said.

In morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, shares of Bio-Rad were up 4 percent to $121.89.

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