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Meridian Bio Initiates Fiscal 2016 Guidance

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Meridian Bioscience today initiated revenue and earnings guidance for its fiscal 2016 and said that revenues and earnings for fiscal 2015 are expected to be at the low end of its previously stated guidance range. 

The firm said that for fiscal 2016, which starts on Oct. 1, it expects net revenues to grow between 3 percent and 5 percent on a constant currency basis, translating to a revenue range of $195 million to $200 million. EPS is expected to be in the range of $.86 to $.90. 

Revenue and EPS figures are derived from internal growth but excludes new product launches and potential acquisitions in 2016, Meridian Bio said. 

For fiscal 2015, which ends on Sept. 30, the company said it anticipates posting net revenues of $193 million and EPS of $.85. Currency effects are estimated to have a negative impact of more than $3 million on net revenues, Meridian Bio said. 

In July, Meridian Bio had reaffirmed previous guidance of revenues in the range of $193 million to $200 million and EPS of between $.85 and $.91.

In a statement, Meridian Bio Chairman and CEO John Kraeutler said that the firm's growth in recent years has been driven by an increased market share captured by its illumigene molecular platform, as well as expanded life science products and a broadened global reach. Traditional immunoassay revenues, however, have grown more slowly, he said. 

Kraeutler added that negative currency effects and continued strategic investments have impacted the firm's overall financial performance. "Clearly, as we have stated recently, we are committed to using our unleveraged financial condition to effect transactions that will add strategic growth to our business," he said. 

PiperJaffray analyst William Quirk pointed out in a research note today that Meridian Bio's guidance for FY 2016 misses the consensus Wall Street estimate of $203.5 million in revenues and $.93 in EPS. He also noted that Meridian Bio's initial annual guidance has typically been optimistic at the start of each fiscal year, only to be lowered throughout the rest of the year. 

Of the illumigene business, Quirk said that the ongoing conversion of lateral flow assays and the expected introduction of several new molecular diagnostic systems "with workflow advantages vs. illumigene" will provide competitive headwinds to Meridian Bio. 

"[W]e continue to believe existing and upcoming automated sample-to-answer MDx instruments will take share from" Meridian Bio's "traditionally strong franchises," such as Clostridium difficile, he said, maintaining an Underweight rating on the company's shares. 

In afternoon trading on the Nasdaq, Meridian Bio's shares were down almost 9 percent at $17.07.