Meridian Bioscience second quarter net sales increases 32% to $41.1 million

Meridian Bioscience, Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio (NASDAQ: VIVO) today

  • reported fiscal 2011 second quarter and six months net sales of $41.1 million and $78.3 million, respectively, increases of 32% and 6%, respectively, from the same periods of the prior fiscal year;
  • reported second quarter operating income of $11.0 million, an increase of 20% compared to the prior year second quarter;
  • reported six months operating income of $20.1 million, a decrease of 12% compared to the same period of the prior fiscal year;
  • reported second quarter net earnings of $7.3 million, or $0.18 per diluted share, increases of 21% and 20%, respectively, compared to the fiscal 2010 second quarter;
  • reported non-GAAP second quarter net earnings of $8.1 million, or $0.20 per diluted share, which excludes the effect of the costs associated with the reorganization of European and Global Sales and Marketing Leadership (see non-GAAP financial measure reconciliation);
  • reported six months net earnings of $13.3 million, or $0.32 per diluted share, decreases of 11% compared to the corresponding fiscal 2010 period. On a non-GAAP basis, earnings were $14.2 million, or $0.34 per diluted share, excluding the effect of costs associated with the reorganization of European and Global Sales and Marketing Leadership (see non-GAAP financial measure reconciliation);
  • declared the regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.19 per share for the second quarter of fiscal 2011, (indicated annual rate of $0.76 per share), the same as the regular quarterly rate of fiscal 2010; and
  • reaffirmed its fiscal 2011 guidance of per share diluted earnings between $0.77 and $0.82 on net sales of $165 million to $170 million.

SECOND QUARTER OPERATING RESULTS

Net sales for the second quarter of fiscal 2011 were $41,059,000, compared to $31,147,000 for the same period of the prior fiscal year, an increase of 32%. Net earnings for the second quarter of fiscal 2011 were $7,260,000, or $0.18 per diluted share, increases of 21% and 20%, respectively, compared to the second quarter of fiscal 2010. Diluted common shares outstanding for the second quarter of fiscal 2011 and 2010 were 41,348,000 and 41,177,000, respectively. Excluding the effects of reorganizing the European and Global Sales and Marketing Leadership, net earnings for the quarter totaled $8,132,000, or $0.20 per diluted share.

YEAR-TO-DATE OPERATING RESULTS

Net sales for the six months ended March 31, 2011 were $78,322,000, compared to $73,604,000 for the same period of the prior fiscal year, an increase of 6%. Net earnings for the six months ended March 31, 2011 were $13,285,000, or $0.32 per diluted share, decreases of 11% compared to the six months ended March 31, 2010. Diluted common shares outstanding for the first six months of fiscal 2011 and 2010 were 41,319,000 and 41,178,000, respectively. Excluding the effects of reorganizing the European and Global Sales and Marketing Leadership, net earnings for the six months ended March 31, 2011, totaled $14,157,000, or $0.34 per diluted share.

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, 2011. The dividend is payable May 12, 2011 to shareholders of record on May 2, 2011. This annual indicated dividend rate of $0.76 per share remains the same as fiscal 2010. 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 2011 GUIDANCE REAFFIRMED

For the fiscal year ending September 30, 2011, management expects net sales to be in the range of $165 million to $170 million and per share diluted earnings to be between $0.77 and $0.82. The sales and earnings guidance provided in this press release does not include the impact of any acquisitions the Company might complete during fiscal 2011.

FINANCIAL CONDITION

The Company's financial condition is sound. At March 31, 2011, current assets were $93.8 million compared to current liabilities of $17.0 million, resulting in working capital of $76.8 million and a current ratio of 5.5. Cash and short-term investments were $28.4 million and the Company had 100% borrowing capacity under its $30,000,000 commercial bank credit facility. The Company has no bank-debt obligations outstanding.

The following table sets forth the unaudited operating segment data for the interim periods in fiscal 2011 and fiscal 2010 (in thousands).

COMPANY COMMENTS

John A. Kraeutler, Chief Executive Officer, said, "Revenue growth in the second fiscal quarter was driven by strong performance from our C. difficile tests (+6%), led by illumigene - C. difficile; continued positive trends in our H. pylori products (+9%); foodborne test sales growing more than double (+114%); and consistent positive increases from Bioline (+12%), our most recent Meridian Life Sciences acquisition. Interestingly, our respiratory product lines grew 58% versus the prior period driven by rapid tests other than those for influenza. Our core Life Sciences business was disappointing and declined by 14% in the quarter. While order patterns in this business unit had some negative effect, we are anticipating that this core business will be flat to slightly down for the full year. Operating expense increases were largely due to two factors: (1) Bioline expenses were recorded in the second quarter and did not appear in the year ago period, and (2) we completed the realignment of our European and global sales and marketing leadership structure and recorded expenses associated with that activity.

We are very encouraged by our performance for the quarter. Each focus area of our diagnostics business met or exceeded expectations and our strategic actions continue to support our future growth. illumigene sales in the quarter totaled nearly $2 million and we now have more than 300 labs using this simple molecular platform for their daily C. difficile testing. During the second quarter we received FDA clearance to market our illumigene-C.difficile test for use with pediatric patients under the age of 2 years. As we see more ambulatory (non-hospital related) C. difficile, especially in children, we believe this claim will become more important. Shortly, our second illumigene test for Group B streptococcus will enter formal clinical trials. Later this year, two additional illumigene tests, one for Group A streptococcus and another for Mycoplasma pneumonia are expected to be through formal clinical trials and be submitted to the FDA for marketing clearance. The illumigene platform is becoming well recognized as a simple, accurate technology that enables more labs to adopt molecular testing quickly.

Our relationships with managed care organizations continue to support our H. pylori tests as physicians shift from prescribing symptom relieving medications to a test, treat and cure protocol. Our rapid foodborne tests are recognized as being highly accurate and offer both cost savings through better lab workflow and, importantly, provide better diagnostic information to physicians for improved patient care. The rapidly growing research and industrial markets for innovative molecular tests continue to evaluate and adopt the Bioline reagents that offer an ability to accelerate test times with superior consistency and performance.

Our outlook is very positive and we believe that the Company continues to make the proper investments in our people, our products and our customers."

William J. Motto, Executive Chairman of the Board, said, "Our recently introduced illumigene platform is off to a strong start and we look forward to introducing additional molecular tests in the near future. Second quarter operating results were consistent with our plans and we are comfortable with our previously issued guidance. Although no potential acquisitions are in process, we continue to be on the look-out for external growth opportunities. Our most recent acquisition, Bioline, is performing very well. We will continue to look for cost efficiencies, new avenues of growth, and maintaining a strong balance sheet."

SOURCE Meridian Bioscience, Inc.,

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