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Meridian Bioscience Q4 Revenues Climb 26 Percent, Beat Street Estimate

This story has been updated to include comments from a conference call with investors.

NEW YORK – Meridian Bioscience reported on Friday that its fiscal fourth quarter revenues increased 26 percent year over year, with reagent sales more than offsetting a dip in diagnostics revenues.

For the three months ended Sept. 30, the firm reported revenues of $64.2 million up from $50.8 million a year ago and beating the average consensus Wall Street estimate of $59.6 million.

Meridian reported Q4 diagnostics revenues of $29.8 million, down 11 percent year over year from $34.4 million. Within diagnostics, the firm reported molecular assay revenues of $4.7 million, down 23 percent year over year from $6.1 million, and non-molecular assays revenues of $25.2 million, down 8 percent year over year from $27.3 million.

Q4 revenues for the firm's life sciences segment were $34.4 million, nearly double the $17.4 million of the prior-year quarter. Within life sciences, immunological reagents were down about 1 percent to $11.6 million from $11.7 million. Molecular reagents revenues meanwhile nearly quadrupled to $22.7 million from $5.8 million a year ago.

In the fiscal fourth quarter, Meridian launched SARS-CoV-2 antibody pairs designed for highly sensitive rapid antigen tests for saliva and nasopharyngeal samples.

On a call with investors, Meridian CEO Jack Kenny noted that the firm's reagents are key components of more than 100 authorized assays globally, with molecular assays leading the way.

Kenny also said that today the firm informed the US Food and Drug Administration of its intent to submit an application for a standalone SARS-CoV-2 assay on its Revogene platform. The firm has also adapted its in-development Revogene respiratory panel to include SARS-CoV-2, and Kenny further note that the installed base of Revogene now totals 231 instruments. The firm has also added a second manufacturing shift and expects to ramp to as many as 100,000 Revogene assays per month. 

"We are actively making plans to increase this capacity further, and with the launch of Revogene ... [we] have intensified the plans to build capacity three to four times of where we are today," Kenny said.

The company reported Q4 net earnings of $6.5 million, or $.15 per share, compared to $4.1 million, or $.10 per share in Q4 2019. On an adjusted basis, Meridian reported EPS of $.19, beating analysts' average estimate of $.14 per share.

In Q4, the firm’s R&D costs rose 25 percent to $7.0 million from $5.6 million in Q4 2019, and its SG&A costs increased 21 percent to $19.3 million from $16.0 million. The firm attributed the increase in R&D costs to spending in its diagnostic segment. 

Meridian ended the fiscal year with $53.5 million in cash and cash equivalents.

For full fiscal year 2020, Meridian's revenues increased 26 percent year over year to $253.7 million from $201 million, beating the average analyst estimate of $249.2 million. Diagnostic revenues decreased 11 percent to $121.1 million from $136.7 million a year ago. Life sciences revenues more than doubled to $132.5 million from $64.3 million a year ago, driven by $71.5 million in COVID-19 related product revenues for immunological and molecular tests.

In fiscal 2020, Meridian launched the Curian analyzer and HpSA assay, which the firm noted was the first internally developed new product in several years. It also completed assay design lock of a PCR COVID-19 test for use on the Revogene system and began preparing submission to the US Food and Drug Administration for Emergency Use Authorization. The firm also closed the acquisition of Exalenz Bioscience, adding the BreathID instrument and its Urea Breath Test for H. pylori to its diagnostics product portfolio.

Meridian Bioscience reported net earnings for the year of $46.2 million, or $1.08 per share, compared to net earnings of $24.4 million, or $.57 per share, in 2019. On an adjusted basis, the firm reported 2020 EPS of $1.07, beating the average analyst estimate for EPS of $1.02.

The firm's R&D costs for the year rose 33 percent to $23.7 million from $17.8 million, and its SG&A costs increased 14 percent to $70.8 million from $62.0 million.

In FY 2021, the firm expects consolidated revenues in the range of $290 to $310 million and adjusted EPS in the range of $1.14 to $1.28. Prior to the release of the financial results, analysts on average were expecting $262.4 million in FY 2021 revenues, and EPS of $.95.

Diagnostic revenues are expected to be in the range of $140 to $150 million for 2021. The firm expects continued headwinds to its core diagnostics products through the first half, with anticipated full recovery in the second half of the fiscal year, with COVID-19 diagnostics product expected to supplement recovery in the fiscal second quarter. 

Life science revenues are projected to be in the range of $150 million to $160 million.

In morning trading on the Nasdaq, Meridian's shares were up 4 percent to $16.77