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On March 5, 2009, Bio-Reference Laboratories ( BRLI) reported that its Q1 FY09 earnings surged 63.0% on higher revenue from its Esoteric Testing Divisions. Net income for the latest first quarter increased to $3.60 million or $0.26 per share from $2.21 million or $0.16 per share in Q1 FY08. On a pro-forma basis, net income surged 20.6% to $2.66 million or $0.19 per share, which topped the most recent consensus estimate of $0.18 per share.

For the quarter ended January 31, 2009, revenue rose 15.6% to $77.34 million from $66.88 million a year ago, driven by higher revenue per patient and increased revenue from the Esoteric Testing Divisions. On a pro-forma basis, net revenue grew 13.2% to $75.74 million. The number of patients served inched up marginally to 965,000 from 962,000, negatively impacted by recession and the company's emphasis on expansion of its esoteric programs. However, revenue per patient rose 13.0% to $77.79 from $68.83. Esoteric business constituted 51.0% of the total net revenues, compared to 46.0% of the total net revenue in the prior year's quarter.

Bio-Reference's gross profit margin improved 90 basis points to 48.23% from 47.33% a year ago, as higher revenue offset a 13.7% increase in the company's cost of sales to $40.04 million from $35.23 million. Moreover, general and administrative expenses grew 12.2% to $30.73 million from $27.39 million. Conversely, operating margin widened 212 basis points to 8.50% from 6.37% in Q1 FY09. On a pro-forma basis, gross profit margin was 47.13% and operating margin was 6.56%.

Bio-Reference entered a restitution agreement with a former employee that led to an increase in net income to an extent of $1.60 million.

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