Esoteric Testing Pays Big Earnings for Bio-Reference

Revenue from esoteric testing constituted 50% of fourth quarter revenue while the number of patients served increased.
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Led by impressive gains in its esoteric testing divisions,

Bio-Reference Laboratories

(BRLI)

, a provider of clinical laboratory services, reported that its fourth-quarter fiscal 2008 earnings surged 12.9% on Dec. 18, 2008.

Net income for the latest fourth quarter advanced to $5.25 million or 38 cents per share from $4.64 million or 33 cents per share in fourth-quarter 2007. The latest quarterly results topped the most recent consensus estimate of 36 cents per share.

For the quarter ended October 2008, BioReference's total revenue grew 16.4% to $81.24 million from $69.80 million, driven by an increase in patient count and higher revenue per patient. The number of patients served increased 5.9% to 1.03 million from 972,000. Net revenue per patient rose 10.1% to $78.22 from $71.06 in fourth quarter 2007. Revenue from esoteric business constituted 50.0% of total revenue during the quarter.

For 2008, the company's net income increased 11.9% to $15.62 million or $1.12 per share from $13.96 million or $1.01 per share a year ago. Total revenue grew 20.2% to $301.07 million from $250.43 million in FY07. The number of patients served increased 11.0% to 4.09 million from 3.68 million.

During the quarter under review, the company introduced two new innovative testing initiatives based on unique technology platforms and sophisticated scientific capabilities. Furthermore, in August 2008, the company's GeneDx subsidiary began accepting samples on a limited basis for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, genetic testing based on next generation (NextGen) sequencing. In September 2008, the company launched its Second Generation Women's Health Initiative, offering affordable, comprehensive testing for sexually transmitted infections.

Looking forward to 2009, the company expects its revenue to grow at least 15%, while net income is projected to grow at least 20% over 2008 levels.

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