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Meridian Bioscience's Q4 Revenues Jump 16 Percent

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Cincinnati-based diagnostics firm Meridian Bioscience today reported fourth-quarter revenue growth of 16 percent, with sales increases reported for both its diagnostics and life sciences businesses.

Meridian reported total revenues of $41.3 million for the three-month period ended Sept. 30, compared to $35.5 million for the third quarter of 2010. It fell short of analysts' consensus estimate of $42.1 million.

The firm's US diagnostics business reported sales of $25.1 million, up from $22 million year over year, while its European diagnostics business had sales of $5.3 million versus $4.9 million for Q3 2010. Its life sciences business reported sales of $11 million, up from $8.6 million.

During the quarter Meridian placed 150 of its illumigene molecular diagnostic instruments, bringing the total number of systems placed globally to more than 650, it said. The firm is currently awaiting US Food and Drug Administration clearance of its illumigene GBS test for Streptococcus Group B detection.

In addition, it is planning introductions of its illumigene Mycoplasma pneumonia, illumigene Group A Strep, and illumigene Pertussis for whooping cough tests later in the year.

Meridian's profit for the quarter was $6.7 million, or $.16 per share, compared to $5.3 million, or $.13 per share, for Q3 2010. Its adjusted EPS was $.18, falling just short of Wall Street's estimate of $.19.

Its R&D spending for the quarter increased 25 percent to $2.5 million from $2 million, and its SG&A spending rose 14 percent to $11.6 million from $10.2 million.

For full-year 2011, Meridian's revenues increased 12 percent to $159.7 million from $143 million. Its net income was $26.8 million, or $.65 per share, compared to $26.6 million, or $.65 per share, for FY 2010.

"Fiscal 2011 represented a year in which we fine-tuned our focus on those key areas of Meridian's business that are expected to drive our longer term growth," Meridian CEO Jack Kraeutler said in a statement. "For our diagnostics business this included tests for H. pylori infection, tests for foodborne pathogens, and our new, simple molecular amplification platform, illumigene. Our Life Science business is being driven by rapid organic growth from the Bioline products.

"Due to this clear focus we are making the decisions necessary to streamline or reposition other areas of Meridian's business that have slowed down in recent years so that fiscal 2012 and beyond can be built upon predictable strategic growth drivers," he added.

The firm finished the fiscal year with $23.6 million in cash and cash equivalents.

Meridian expects to report FY 2012 revenues of between $183 million and $192 million and adjusted EPS for the year of $.85-$.89.

In early afternoon trade on the Nasdaq, shares of Meridian were up 4 percent at $18.27.

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