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Meridian Bioscience Reports 6 Percent Jump in Fiscal Q2 Sales

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) — Meridian Biosciences today reported a 6 percent year-over-year increase in fiscal second quarter revenues as growth in its Illumigene molecular assay product portfolio helped temper flagging sales of its influenza immunoassay.

For the three months ended March 31, Meridian reported net sales of $50.1 million compared to $47.3 million in the year-ago period and falling short of the consensus analyst estimate of $52.2 million.

The company said that diagnostics sales grew by 2 percent to $37.1 million from $36.4 million, with Illumigene product sales growing 23 percent year over year to nearly $10 million, and H. pylori assay sales improving 11 percent.

Meantime, foodborne sales were flat due to competitive pressures, and influenza revenues were down 18 percent due to seasonal weakness in influenza testing.

Meridian's Life Science business increased 20 percent in fiscal Q2 to $13.1 million from $10.9 million in the year-ago period, driven primarily by its MyTaq, SensiFast, and Isolate products.

Within the Diagnostics unit, Meridian logged double-digit increases in both Illumigene Group A and Group B Streptococcus sales.

Illumigene C. difficile revenues also improved year over year, although the company noted in a statement that it continues to watch the hospital-associated infection category closely as it "appears to be losing some momentum due to a combination of reduced rates of infections, lower hospital admission rates, and pricing pressure from increased competition."

During the quarter Meridian received US Food and Drug Administration Clearance for its Illumigene Pertussis (whooping cough) assay, and the company said today that it has gained 36 accounts since clearance and that it expects the test to provide growth in the second half of its fiscal year.

Meridian reported net earnings of $10.3 million, or $.24 per share, in fiscal Q2, essentially flat compared to the same quarter in 2013 and missing the consensus analyst estimate of $.27 per share.

The company spent $3.2 million on R&D compared to $2.8 million in the year-ago period, while SG&A costs totaled $12.7 million — essentially the same as Q2 2013, although sales and marketing expenses dropped slightly while general and administrative costs inched up.

Meridian ended the quarter with $38.2 million in cash and cash equivalents.

The firm lowered its fiscal 2014 guidance to net sales of $190 million to $195 million and earnings per share between $.85 and $.90.

"The first half of fiscal 2014 fell short of expectations due to soft C. difficile, food, and respiratory sales and, as a consequence, we lowered our revenue and earnings guidance," William Motto, executive chairman at the company, said in a statement.