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Meridian Bioscience Reports First Quarter 2012 Operating Results, Declares Regular Cash Dividend, And Reaffirms Fiscal 2012 Guidance

Meridian Bioscience, Inc. (NASDAQ: VIVO):

GENERAL HIGHLIGHTS

Meridian Bioscience, Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio (NASDAQ: VIVO) today:

  • reported first quarter net sales of $40.3 million, an increase of 8% from the same period of the prior fiscal year;
  • reported first quarter operating income of $9.8 million, an increase of 8% over the same period of the prior fiscal year;
  • reported first quarter net earnings of $6.6 million, or $0.16 per diluted share, increases of 9% and 7%, respectively, compared to the same period of the prior fiscal year. On a non-GAAP basis, earnings were $6.9 million, or $0.17 per diluted share, excluding the effect of costs associated with the consolidation of its Saco, Maine operations into its Tennessee facility (see non-GAAP financial measure reconciliations);
  • declared the regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.19 per share for the first quarter of fiscal 2012, (indicated annual rate of $0.76 per share), the same as the regular quarterly rate of fiscal 2011; and
  • reaffirmed its fiscal 2012 guidance of per share diluted earnings between $0.85 and $0.89 (excluding plant consolidation costs of $0.01-$0.02) on net sales of $183 million to $192 million.

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS (UNAUDITED)

In Thousands, Except per Share Data

       

Three Months Ended December 31,

2011     2010     % Change
Net Sales $ 40,266 $ 37,263 8 %
Operating Income 9,805 9,090 8 %
Net Earnings 6,578 6,025 9 %
Diluted Earnings per Share $ 0.16 $ 0.15 7 %
Diluted Earnings per Share excluding $ 0.17 $ 0.15 13 %
effect of plant consolidation costs*
*See non-GAAP financial measure reconciliations
Dec. 31 Dec. 31
2011 2010
Cash and short-term investments $ 26,205 $ 41,479
Working Capital 72,847 77,432
Shareholders’ Equity 137,703 136,552
Total Assets 155,195 156,439
 

COMPANY COMMENTS

John A. Kraeutler, Chief Executive Officer, said, “We made progress in the first quarter by focusing on the technologies and products that will ensure our long term success. Overall, total revenue growth of 8% yielded net earnings growth of 9%. While these results are positive, especially in a weak economy, we believe our potential for growth continues to increase. Our key focus areas, led by the illumigene ® molecular amplification platform, provided the greatest sales contributions to the quarter. Our overall C. difficile business grew by 27% worldwide. In addition, tests for foodborne disease improved by 24%, our H. pylori category grew 2% and Life Science rebounded with 10% growth led by a strong 13% performance from our recently acquired Bioline unit. The adoption of the illumigene technology platform continued with nearly 750 total placements worldwide, an increase of approximately 100 new customers since our last report 10 weeks ago. In addition, illumigene Group B Strep (GBS) for testing patients during pregnancy to prevent the transmission of disease to the newborn, received FDA clearance to market in December and our early results are very encouraging. Immuno Card ® GDH, a rapid screening test for C. difficile, was also cleared by the FDA in December. This test is ideal for hospital laboratories that may be financially constrained and cannot afford to perform illumigene molecular testing on all patient samples.

Life Science revenues were strong in both the core (+8%) and the Bioline (+13%) units. In the core business, a rebound in orders for rubella and hepatitis A proteins led the growth. For Bioline, the new SensiFAST and MyTaq PCR components continued their leadership roles in the research products category.

Looking ahead, the outlook is bright. Our near term focus continues to be on maximizing overall illumigene placements while adding illumigene Group B Strep on existing systems. Our illumigene Mycoplasma test is now in clinical trials and it will be followed by illumigene Group A Strep in the near future. We continue to expect to launch three to four new illumigene tests per year for the foreseeable future. Our Life Science business is strong and it is expected to perform at or above expectations for the year. Our European diagnostics business continues to be a drag on performance and it is expected that the management and organizational changes we made last year will take several more quarters to make a measureable difference.”

William J. Motto, Executive Chairman of the Board, said, “During fiscal 2012 we look forward to higher illumigene revenues driven by more units in the field and greater utilization. We continue to carefully watch efficiency measures, control costs, enjoy a strong cash flow from operations, and have an unleveraged and conservative balance sheet. In Q1 we generated $2.6 million of cash after our payment of dividends. Over the past few years we continued to invest in our future while maintaining a robust dividend. These investments are now paying off and we are building cash once again. We are comfortable with our current sales and earnings guidance as well as our cash dividend rate for fiscal 2012. The Bioline acquisition has met our expectations and we continue to look for other similar opportunities."

CASH DIVIDEND MATTERS

The Board of Directors declared the regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.19 per share for the first quarter ended December 31, 2011. The dividend is of record February 3, 2012 and payable February 17, 2012. This annual indicated dividend rate of $0.76 per share remains the same as the rate in fiscal 2011. Guided by the Company’s policy of setting a payout ratio of between 75% and 85% of each fiscal year’s expected net earnings, the actual declaration and amount of dividends will be determined by the Board of Directors in its discretion based upon its evaluation of earnings, cash flow requirements and future business developments, including acquisitions.

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