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Meridian Bioscience Posts 13 Percent Uptick in Q4 Revenues; 9 Percent FY13 Growth

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — Meridian Bioscience today reported a 13 percent year-over-year increase in fiscal fourth quarter revenues and a 9 percent spike in full-year fiscal 2013 revenues.

For the three months ended Sept. 30, the Cincinnati, Ohio-based life science and clinical diagnostics firm reported fiscal Q4 revenues of $49 million, compared to $43.5 million in the year-ago period. Total FY2013 revenues were $188.7 million compared to $172.7 million in FY 2012.

Both Q4 and FY2013 revenues were records, Meridian said, but both figures fell just shy of the average analyst estimates of $49.2 million and $188.9 million. The figures also fell short of previous company guidance of between $190 million and $195 million in revenues for FY2013.

Meridian CEO John Kraeutler noted in a statement that growth included key contributions from all company segments. Fourth quarter Diagnostics sales rose approximately 15 percent to $37.3 million from $32.4 million a year ago, while FY2013 Diagnostics sales rose about 11 percent to $144.6 million from $130.2 million in FY2012.

Meantime, fourth quarter sales for the Life Science segment rose around 6 percent to $11.7 million from $11.1 million a year ago, while FY2013 Life Science sales increased 4 percent to $44.1 million from $42.5 million in FY2012.

Kraeutler said that within the Diagnostics segment, sales of the company's Illumigene molecular tests grew 45 percent in FY2013 and contributed more than $33 million, nearly 25 percent of segment revenues. Of this, Illumigene tests for Clostridium difficile contributed about 80 percent of the total, with Group B strep accounting for 12 percent and Group A strep 5 percent. The Diagnostics segment also saw double-digit growth in immunoassay products in FY2013.

Growth in the Life Science business comprised a 10 percent increase in Bioline revenues, driven largely by new products including SensiFast and MyTaq, and offset by flat sales from the core unit, Kraeutler said. Meridian acquired molecular reagents firm Bioline in 2010.

Meridian reported Q4 net earnings of $9.2 million, or $.22 per share, compared to $8.6 million, or $.21 per share, in the year-ago period, and just below the Wall Street consensus estimate of $.23 per share. FY2013 net earnings were $38 million, or $.92 per share, beating the previously anticipated FY2013 EPS of between $.86 and $.91, and compared to $33.4 million, or $.81 per share in FY 2012. It beat analysts' expectations for $.91 per share.

Meridian's fourth quarter R&D expenditures inched down to $2.7 million from $2.8 million in fiscal Q4 2012, although full-year R&D spending increased to $10.8 million from $10.3 million. Its SG&A costs were $14.9 million in fiscal Q4 2013 compared to $12.7 million in the year-ago period. For FY2013 SG&A costs totaled $52.9 million compared to $48.5 million in FY2012.

Meridian ended the quarter with $44.3 million in cash and cash equivalents.

The company reaffirmed fiscal 2014 guidance, with anticipated net sales in the range of $203 million to $208 million and diluted EPS of between $0.98 and $1.03.

"As fiscal 2014 begins, we expect continued momentum coming from our focus on the Illumigene molecular system," Kraeutler said in a statement. He added that Meridian expects to add three new Illumigene tests — for Bordetella pertussis, Chlamydia trahcomatis/Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and herpes simplex virus — to its portfolio in FY2014.

"In addition, we anticipate adding approximately 50 new [Illumigene] customers each quarter," Kraeutler said. "We expect continued growth from our foodborne and [Helicobacter pylori] rapid tests as well. In addition, our Life Science unit will grow driven by a series of new Bioline products and, via global market expansion. Finally, we expect that Meridian Bioscience Europe, which has had to deal with a challenging economic environment, will show real organic growth by mid-year."

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