William J. Motto, Executive Chairman of the Board, said, “Revenue growth and strong operating profits were the hallmarks of Meridian's second quarter. We believe this bodes well for the balance of fiscal 2012 and beyond. We are comfortable with our cash dividend rate and the sales and earnings guidance. The favorable operating leverage during the second quarter is due to careful attention to cost controls and established efficiency programs. Our illumigene molecular testing platform continues to gain acceptance in the market and we look forward to introducing new products utilizing this proprietary technology. Our most recent acquisition, Bioline, continues to deliver outstanding performance. We regularly screen other acquisition opportunities that could potentially contribute to the growth of our business. Our balance sheet is solid and unlevered, and cash flow from operations comfortably funds capital expenditures, working capital requirements, and cash dividend needs.”
CASH DIVIDEND MATTERS
The Board of Directors declared the regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.19 per share for the second quarter ended March 31, 2012. The dividend is of record May 4, 2012 and payable May 14, 2012. This annual indicated 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.
FISCAL 2012 GUIDANCE REAFFIRMEDFor the fiscal year ending September 30, 2012, management expects net sales to be in the range of $183 million to $192 million and per share diluted earnings to be between $0.85 and $0.89. The per share estimates assume an increase in average diluted shares outstanding from approximately 41.4 million at fiscal 2011 year end to 41.5 million at fiscal 2012 year end. The sales and earnings guidance provided in this press release does not include the impact of any acquisitions the Company might complete during fiscal 2012 or charges of $0.01-$0.02 diluted earnings per share in fiscal 2012 associated with the consolidation of its Maine operations into its Tennessee facility (see non-GAAP financial measure reconciliations).