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Meridian Q3 Revenues Climb 5 Percent as MDx Products See Continuing Adoption

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Meridian Bioscience today said that sales grew 5 percent year over year during its fiscal third quarter as adoption of its molecular diagnostic products continued.

For the three months ended June 30, revenues rose to $42.1 million, up from $40.1, but below the Wall Street consensus of $46.5 million.

Net earnings for the quarter increased to $8.6 million, or $.21 per share, from $6.8 million, or $.17 per share, just shy of analyst estimates of $.22 per share.

R&D costs were essentially flat at $2.7 million, though SG&A spending was trimmed 4 percent to $12.0 million from $12.5 a year ago.

In a statement, Meridian CEO John Kraeutler noted that the company's illumigene molecular platform "continued to perform well. We now have approximately 900 customers servicing over 1,000 hospitals and private labs."

Illumigene growth was primarily from its assays for C. difficile and Group B streptococcal infection. On the latter, Krauetler said that the test is "gaining traction for prenatal screening."

This month, the company submitted its illumigene Group A Strep assay for approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for marketing clearance, and if cleared, the test would provide faster time-to-results and potentially better accuracy, he said.

"Iillumigene is approaching its second year anniversary and, while results have been quite good thus far, we believe that the customer uptake can accelerate, especially as our menu evolves with the addition of Group A strep followed by Mycoplasma pneumoniae and whooping cough (pertussis) later this year," Kraeutler said.

He said, however, that companywide, the third quarter was disappointing compared to results from its second quarter. Diagnostic sales in the US were up 10 percent, but European diagnostic business was flat on a local currency basis, and down 11 percent on a US dollar basis.

The company's Bioline business grew 12 percent on a local currency basis, but was down 9 percent in US dollars, he added. Meridian bought London-based Bioline two years ago.

Meridian finished the third quarter with $27.9 million in cash and short-term investments.

The firm lowered its full-year 2012 EPS guidance to a range of $.78 and $.81 on projected revenues of $171 million to $175 million. A quarter ago, the Cincinnati-based company gave guidance of EPS between $.85 and $.89 on revenues of between $183 million and $192 million.

Meridian also said that its board has declared a quarterly cash dividend of $.19 per share for the third quarter. The dividend is payable Aug. 16 to shareholders of record as of Aug. 6.

In morning trading, shares of Meridian were down 9 percent to $16.82 on the Nasdaq.

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