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Meridian's Q4, FY2010 Financial Results Disappoint

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Meridian Bioscience today reported that its fourth-quarter revenues declined 16 percent year over year, missing analysts' consensus estimate.

The Cincinnati-based diagnostics firm brought in total revenues of $35.5 million for the three months ended Sept. 30, compared to $42.5 million for the fourth quarter of 2009. It missed analysts' consensus estimate of $38.4 million.

Its net income for the period was $5.3 million, or $.13 per share, compared to $8.9 million, or $.22 per share, for the fourth quarter of 2009. Excluding costs related to its acquisition of Bioline earlier this year, Meridian's net earnings would have been $6.1 million, or $.15 per share — still short of analysts' estimate of $.18 per share.

Meridian acquired Bioline, a manufacturer and distributor of molecular biology reagents, for $23.3 million this past summer.

The firm's R&D spending during the quarter was flat at $2 million, while its SG&A spending also was flat at $10 million.

For full-year 2010, Meridian reported revenues of $143 million, down 4 percent from $148.3 million for FY2009. Its net earnings were 26.6 million, or $.65 per share, down from $32.8 million, or $.80 per share. Costs related to the Bioline acquisition were $1.2 million for the year, reducing its EPS by $.03.

Meridian's R&D spending increased to $8.6 million from $8.4 million, and its SG&A spending rose to $37.5 million from $35.6 million.

The firm finished the quarter and fiscal year with $37.9 million in cash and short-term investments.

"Our performance in fiscal 2010 was disappointing and certainly did not meet expectations," CEO John Kraeutler said in a statement. He cited a lack of a normal influenza season and new competitors for C. difficile testing as primary reasons for the revenue shortfall.

"We have intensely focused on the efforts and programs that will drive future performance," he added. "In doing so, we successfully launched illumigene C. difficile in Q4, the first isothermal technology platform for amplifying DNA from a patient sample without requiring expensive instrumentation."

The illumigene is Meridian's initial foray into the molecular diagnostics market. The firm, which has been around since, 1976, has traditionally competed in the immunoassay market with products for respiratory, gastrointestinal, viral, and parasitic infectious disease testing.

Meridian also said today that it will pay a cash dividend of $.19 per share on Dec. 3, to shareholders of record on Nov. 22.

In Wednesday afternoon trade on the Nasdaq, shares of Meridian were down 5 percent at $22.76.

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