Meridian Bioscience Reports First Quarter 2014 Operating Results, Declares Increased Regular Cash Dividend, And Reaffirms Fiscal 2014 Guidance

Meridian Bioscience, Inc. (NASDAQ: VIVO) today:
  • reported first quarter net sales of $44.8 million, a decrease of 1% from the same period of the prior fiscal year;
  • reported first quarter operating income of $11.6 million, a decrease of 11% from the same period of the prior fiscal year;
  • reported first quarter net earnings of $7.4 million, or $0.18 per diluted share, decreases of 12% and 10%, respectively, compared to the fiscal 2013 first quarter;
  • declared the increased regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.20 per share for the first quarter of fiscal 2014 (indicated rate of $0.80 per share) a 5% increase over the regular quarterly rate for fiscal 2013; and
  • reaffirmed its fiscal 2014 guidance of per share diluted earnings between $0.98 and $1.03 on net sales of $203 million to $208 million.

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS (UNAUDITED) In Thousands, Except per Share Data

Three Months Ended December 31,
2013     2012     % Change
Net Sales $ 44,794 $ 45,351 -1 %
Operating Income 11,626 13,091 -11 %
Net Earnings 7,426 8,474 -12 %
Diluted Earnings per Share $ 0.18 $ 0.20 -10 %
Dec. 31 Dec. 31
2013 2012  
Cash and Equivalents $ 43,729 $ 33,149
Working Capital 93,732 74,318
Shareholders’ Equity 157,370 138,308
Total Assets 174,859 157,315


John A. Kraeutler, Chief Executive Officer, said, “The financial results of the first quarter, as summarized in our announcement of January 15, 2014, were not up to expectations due primarily to revenue shortfalls and higher Q1 spending. Delays in shipments, ordering patterns and a seasonal shift in influenza negatively impacted our core Life Science, foodborne and respiratory product categories, respectively, and are expected to rebound during the second quarter. Further, while illumigene ® revenues increased by 15%, our molecular test for C. difficile contributed at a lesser rate than expected. We believe one of the root causes of this weakness is related to reduced hospital admissions and declining disease incidence rates in hospitals. As a result, our sales and marketing efforts are being stepped up with those products that are more suited to testing of ambulatory patients rather than hospital inpatients. Specifically, we are focusing on the testing of those persons undergoing prenatal screening as well as those suffering symptoms of upper respiratory infections and gastrointestinal distress.

“As mentioned, illumigene revenues grew by 15%. Also, our Bioline unit achieved a 16% increase offset by a 7% decline in the core Life Science revenues. With regard to illumigene, we saw the greatest contributions to our sales increase coming from our tests for Group B and for Group A streptococci. We added 21 new illumigene customers, a similar number as compared to the same period last year, and we added 36 new tests on installed illumipro™ systems. illumigene Pertussis is at the FDA awaiting clearance and clinical trials for CT/NG are to begin this quarter.

“Guidance for fiscal 2014 is being maintained. We are expecting a rebound in revenue growth during the second quarter and we will monitor our spending carefully.”

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