shot up almost 10% to $29.52 and closed on its 52-week high after posting first quarter earnings of $3.7 million, or 27 cents a share, on revenue of $27 million.
These results are roughly in line with First Call consensus estimates. Immucor also confirmed full-year guidance in line with expectations, saying it will earn about $18 million, or $1.24 a share, on revenue of $110 million.
Revenue was up 17% from $23 million in the year-ago quarter. The company attributed most of this gain to volume increases in the sale of its blood reagent and instruments that hospitals and blood donation centers use to determine blood group, blood type and blood safety prior to transfusions. The company has been trying to increase the sale of its instruments that read the reagents, as they drive repeat sales. The effort has met with some success, as instrument sales doubled to $2.5 million vs. the year-ago quarter. The company noted particular success in Europe, where it has placed dozens of high-volume instruments designed specifically for the European market.
According to the company, the worldwide market for reagent products is $300 million per year, on top of $300 million for the instruments that read them. Its major competition in the U.S. comes from the Ortho Clinical Diagnostics division of
Johnson & Johnson
For the year, the stock of the Georgia-based company is up 36% and now trades with a price-to-earnings ratio of 23 times expected 2004 earnings and 20 times expected 2005 earnings, with a market capitalization of about $380 million.