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Bio-Rad Q4 Revenues Up 9 Percent

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Bio-Rad Laboratories said after the close of the market on Tuesday that its fourth quarter revenues grew almost 9 percent year over year, boosted by its life science segment.

For the three months ended Dec. 31, 2017, the Hercules, California-based firm reported $620.4 million in revenues compared to $571.5 million in the year-ago period. On a currency-neutral basis, quarterly revenues increased approximately 5 percent year over year. On average, analysts had expected revenues of $619.2 million for the quarter.

Life science segment sales were $237.9 million in Q4, up 15 percent from the same quarter last year, and 12 percent on a currency-neutral basis, reflecting sales of droplet digital PCR, cell biology product lines, and process media, as well as growth in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific, the company said.

Meantime, Bio-Rad's clinical diagnostics segment revenues were up 5 percent in the recently completed quarter to $378.4 million. On a currency-neutral basis, the segment grew 2 percent. 

Bio-Rad's net income for the quarter was $69.9 million, or $2.32 per share, compared to a net loss of $20.6 million, or $.70 per share, in the year-ago period. The consensus Wall Street estimate was EPS of $1.26.

The firm said that it recorded an estimated tax benefit from the recent tax law of about $66 million during Q4 2017. 

The company's R&D spending during the recently completed quarter grew 34 percent year over year to $76.8 million from $57.5 million, while its SG&A costs were trimmed 8 percent to $204.2 million from $220.0 million

For full-year 2017, Bio-Rad's revenues rose 4 percent to $2.16 billion from $2.07 billion in 2016, matching the consensus Wall Street estimate. On a currency-neutral basis, revenues were up also 4 percent year over year.  

Life science segment sales were $785.2 million in 2017, an increase of about 8 percent compared to 2016, and 7 percent on a currency-neutral basis. "These record sales reflect annual growth in every region and every major product group for life science, except our process media product line, which was impacted by biopharma buying patterns during the year," Bio-Rad Executive Vice President and CFO Christine Tsingos said in a conference call to discuss the earnings. Life science sales also included $14.7 million associated with the newly-acquired RainDance business, Tsingos said, and excluding these acquired sales, organic currency-neutral growth for the segment was approximately 5 percent.

Full-year clinical diagnostics revenues were $1.36 billion, up almost 3 percent compared to 2016, or 2 percent on a currency-neutral basis. Bio-Rad attributed growth to continued momentum in quality control, blood typing, and diabetes monitoring products. The firm also noted that it had exceeded its placement plan for its blood typing products and picked up Laboratory Corporation of America as a large account for it blood typing business. "Also important to highlight are sales of our BioPlex 2200 instrument and panels, which posted the highest growth rate for diagnostics in 2017 as we continue to place new instruments at reference labs and hospitals around the world," said Tsingos, refering to Bio-Rad's fully-automated, random access, multiplex testing platform for clinical diagnostic assays.

Also in clinical diagnostics, however, the firm saw a decline in infectious disease revenues, especially in North America, part of which was attributed to a loss of a particularly large customer that the company did not identify. "This is probably the fourth or fifth year in a row that that business has declined," Tsingos said, adding that for the full year the decline was around $15 million. "Part of being able to accelerate growth next year is hopefully not seeing that same level of decline," she said.

Company highlights in 2017 included the launch of Bio-Rad's single-cell sequencing solution co-developed with Illumina, acquisition of RainDance Technologies, and CE-IVD marking on a droplet digital PCR assay to detect BCR-ABL gene fusions. It also launched the ChemiDoc MP Digital Imaging System for imaging and analyzing gels and western blots, received 510(k) clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration for software enhancements to manage patient results with its IH-1000 automated blood typing instrument, as well as clearance for its BioPlex 2200 Syphilis Total & RPR assay. 

Additionally, the US Food and Drug Administration cleared Bio-Rad's multiplexed panel BioPlex 2200 ToRC IgM Assay for the detection of IgM class antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii, rubella, and cytomegalovirus for prenatal testing; and its D-10 Hemoglobin A1c assay to aid in diagnosing pre-diabetes and diabetes, augmenting the use of the company's D-10 System beyond a monitoring method.

Bio-Rad's 2017 net income was $114.7 million, or $3.82 per share, compared to $28.1 million, or $.95 per share, in 2016. It beat the analysts' average estimate of $2.71 per share.

The company's R&D spending grew 22 percent year over year to $250.3 million from $205.9 million. It's SG&A costs contracted 1 percent to $808.9 million from $816.7 million.

Bio-Rad exited 2017 with $383.8 million in cash and cash equivalents and $376.7 million in short-term investments.

The company anticipates currency neutral revenue growth of approximately 3.5 to 4.0 percent for the full year 2018.

Bio-Rad's stock was up 5 percent to $267.08 on the Nasdaq during Wednesday morning trading.