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Bio-Rad's Q3 Revenues Increase 3 Percent, Beat Analysts' Estimate

NEW YORK – Bio-Rad Laboratories reported after the close of the market Thursday that its third quarter revenues increased 3 percent year over year reflecting growth across both of its business segments.

The Hercules, California-based life science research tools and diagnostics firm reported total revenues of $560.6 million for the three months ended Sept. 30, up from $545.1 million for the third quarter of 2018. It missed the consensus Wall Street estimate for revenues of $565.0 million.

Bio-Rad said that on a currency-neutral basis, revenues were up 5 percent year over year.

"We are pleased with our operating results for the third quarter, which show continued strength in many of our key life science and diagnostic product lines across most of our major geographies," Norman Schwartz, Bio-Rad's president and CEO, said in a statement. "Our operating performance reflects continued improvement compared to 2018, providing us with good momentum as we head into the rest of the year."

Sales for Bio-Rad's life science segment were up approximately 5 percent year over year to $215.7 million, or nearly 6 percent on a currency-neutral basis, driven by growth for multiple product lines including double-digit growth in droplet digital PCR and food safety products, the firm said.

Ilan Daskal, the firm's executive vice president and CFO, said during a conference call to discuss the earnings results that Bio-Rad will be launching its previously described fully integrated droplet digital system in November, called the QX One.

"This allows customers to fully automate the droplet digital PCR workflow, and it increases the multiplexing capabilities," Daskal said, adding that the firm has an initial backlog of orders for the new instrument.

Annette Tumolo, an executive vice president at Bio-Rad and president of the life science group, said the new instrument is compatible with the current platform and assays. "We have thousands of [research-use-only] assays that are available for people to buy today, and they can buy them tomorrow for the QX One," she said. In addition, the firm will be rolling out four-color versions of its assays, so customers can increase their multiplexing in one well with a validated assay. She also noted that the firm will likely move this platform into the IVD market over time, "and that's when we'll have a regulated menu developed."

Asked about instrument cost, she noted that the QX One is "a higher-end platform than the QX-200," so customers will get more ease-of-use and workflow flexibility but will have to "pay a little bit more for the platform."

In the single-cell space, Tumolo said the firm has several active programs and just launched a new kit for single-cell epigenomics with its ATAC-Seq product. "We're working on next-generation systems for single-cell RNA-seq, as well," she said.

During Q3 2019 sales for its diagnostics segment rose 2 percent year over year to $341.8 million, and were up 4 percent on a currency neutral basis. The firm cited growth in quality control, blood typing, and immunology product lines in that segment.

Bio-Rad posted a net loss of $258.8 million, or $8.68 per share, compared to a net income of $269.3 million, or $8.89 per share, for Q3 2018. Bio-Rad said the massive decrease was due to a decline of $390.6 million in the market value of equity securities primarily related to an investment in Sartorius, a lab products and services firm, while net income for the third quarter of 2018 included a gain of $318.0 million related to investment holdings.

On a non-GAAP basis, Bio-Rad's net income for the quarter was $1.61 versus the Wall Street estimate of $1.40.

The firm's R&D spending for the quarter fell approximately 3 percent to $47.9 million from $49.2 million, and its SG&A expenses increased slightly to $201.6 million from $201.2 million.

Bio-Rad finished the quarter with $561.1 million in cash and cash equivalents, and $423.7 million in short-term investments.

The firm anticipates currency-neutral revenue growth of 4 percent to 4.5 percent for FY 2019.