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Meridian Bioscience Q1 Revenues Fall 2 Percent

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Meridian Bioscience today reported that its first quarter revenues fell 2 percent year over year.

The company said revenues decreased to $47.2 million for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2015, from $48.0 million a year ago, missing analysts' consensus estimate of $48.6 million in revenues for the quarter.

However, the firm's net earnings for the quarter rose 13 percent to $8.9 million, or $.21 per share, compared to $7.9 million, or $.19 per share, for Q1 2015, and matched the consensus Wall Street estimate.

In a statement, Meridian CEO John Kraeutler touted his company's diversified portfolio, and said the first quarter results show the strengths of Meridian's multiple product lines. "A key highlight for the period was the achievement of a 67 percent gross profit margin, resulting in 13 percent net earnings growth in a market filled with headwinds," he added.

Q1 revenues from the company's diagnostics business still made up the lion's share of the quarterly revenue, but fell slightly to $35.3 million from $36.6 million a year ago. "A weak respiratory season negatively impacted multiple diagnostic products including tests for Group A Strep, flu, and Pertussis, resulting in a 9 percent decline in respiratory revenues," Kraeutler said. "We also saw lower foodborne product sales, down 11 percent in a market that has recently been targeted by competing tests along with several panel-type offerings."

Kraeutler also noted that revenues for the firm's Illumigene molecular diagnostics platform were flat compared to the prior year Q1 at $10 million, "clearly impacted by weakness in tests for respiratory infections," he said. However, the company added 26 new Illumigene customers and now has nearly 1,500 users globally.

Revenues from the company's life sciences business rose 4 percent to $11.9 million from $11.4 million in Q1 2015. Revenues from Meridian's H. pylori product line rose 19 percent, in part due to promotional programs, according to Kraeutler, compared to a historical growth rate of approximately 8 percent to 9 percent.

The firm's SG&A expenses rose 16 percent to $15.6 million from $13.4 million year over year, and its R&D spending during the quarter rose around 10 percent to $3.4 million from $3.1 million in the year-ago period.

Meridian finished the quarter with $53.4 million in cash and cash equivalents.

The company reaffirmed its guidance for the fiscal year ending Sep. 30 for revenues of $195 million to $200 million, and EPS of $0.86 to $0.90. This is in line with analyst estimates of $197.9 million in revenues and EPS of $.88.

It also declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $.20 per share for the first quarter. It will be recorded Feb. 8 and payable on Feb. 18. The annual indicated dividend rate of $.80 per share remains the same as in fiscal 2015.

Meridian's shares were down a fraction of a percent to $18.67 in morning trading on the Nasdaq.