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Meridian Bioscience Reports Flat Q2 Sales

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Meridian Bioscience today reported essentially flat year-over-year sales growth for the second quarter, though adoption of its molecular diagnostic platform continued to accelerate.

For the three months ended March 31, revenues came in at $47.3 million, up a fraction of 1 percent from $47.2 million a year ago, and missing the average analyst estimate of $49.7 million.

By segment, US Diagnostics revenues improved 6 percent to $30.3 million from $28.5 million, but European Diagnostics retreated 12 percent to $6.1 million from $6.9 million, and Life Science was down 8 percent to $10.9 million from $11.9 million.

The company did not break out sales figures for its illumigene molecular diagnostic products, but in a statement Meridian Bio CEO John Kraeutler said the platform "continued to be well accepted as placements accelerated in the quarter." During the second quarter the company gained 64 new customers and added 94 new tests on installed systems, bringing the total number of illumigene accounts to 1,026 servicing about 1,200 hospitals.

Kraeutler added that the company anticipates clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration of the illumigene Mycoplasma assay "shortly," after submitting the test to the FDA in the fall.

The company also expects to submit the illumigene Pertussis test to the FDA near the end of its fiscal year in September, and it is starting clinical trials for the illumigene Chlamydia trachomatis and illumigene Neisseria gonorrhoeae tests in the current quarter.

The flat sales growth, Kraeutler said, was due largely to European weakness, and "while we are concerned about the economic situation in Europe, we believe that our other strategic growth drivers, especially our molecular lines, will continue to grow and allow us to achieve our fiscal year guidance."

Net profits during the quarter increased to $10.2 million, or $.24 per share, compared to a net profit of $9.6 million, or $.23 per share, a year ago. Adjusted EPS was also $.24, matching the consensus Wall Street estimate.

The firm's R&D expenses were up 12 percent to $2.8 million from $2.5 million a year ago, and its SG&A costs increased 6 percent to $12.7 million from $12.0 million.

Meridian Bio ended the quarter with $38.6 million in cash and cash equivalents.

For Fiscal Year 2013, the company reaffirmed its sales guidance of between $190 million and $195 million. EPS guidance was also reaffirmed at a range of $.86 to $.91.

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