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Immucor CEO Discusses F2Q2011 Results – Earnings Call Transcript

We'll make some brief comments and then go to Q&A. I would now like to turn the call over to Nino.

Nino De Chirico

Thank you, Michele. Good morning. I would like to start this morning with a brief update on overall industry conditions. The US market continues to experience softness, which we believe is primarily due to the macroeconomic environment. Demand for blood from hospitals continues to be weak, which is negatively impacting testing volume.

We believe the total decline in US blood demand for fiscal year 2010 and 2011 combined will be between 6% and 7% as compared with fiscal 2009 levels. This is confirmed by both internal and external data. We believe the lower blood demand is primarily driven by the economy and it’s evil [ph] influenced by the number of insured and under-insured people. The lower blood demand is evident in our lower year-over-year reagent revenue.

For our fiscal year 2011, which ends in May, we continue to expect industry demand in the US market but to be 2% to 3% below fiscal 2010 depressed level. Over the longer term, due to the aging population and with an improvement in the macroeconomic conditions, we believe that the industry in the US will return with historic low-single digit growth rate.

As we discussed last quarter, we believe that instrument orders have been negatively impacted by the weak economy, which has resulted in a longer sales cycle and more economic buyers involved in the process such as hospital purchasing groups and CFOs. As the selling process has become more complicated, we have taken steps during the second quarter to compete more effectively in this difficult environment. We continue to expect our effort to have a positive impact on orders in the second half of fiscal 2011.

Our instrument orders in the second quarter met our expectations. Let me start with NEO. We had 26 NEO orders in the second quarter with 9 in the US and Canada and 17 orders in the rest of the world, including distributors. We have received regulatory approval in all of our direct markets for NEO, and we have been very pleased with the favorable reception of this new high volume instrument as received from end users. With expanded functionality, faster turnaround times and highest throughput available worldwide, we believe NEO is in a category of its own in meeting the needs of high volume labs.

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