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Mild flu season hits Meridian Bioscience 2Q profit

Tue, 07/20/2010 - 5:45am
The Associated Press

Medical test maker Meridian Bioscience Inc. said Tuesday its net income dropped 24 percent in the fiscal third quarter, partly because the mild flu season hurt demand for respiratory tests.

Meridian said it earned $6.4 million, or 16 cents per share, in the three months ended June 30. That was down from $8.5 million, or 21 cents per share, a year ago. Its revenue slid 11 percent, to $33.9 million from $38.2 million.

Analysts expected a profit of 18 cents per share and revenue of $35.6 million, according to a Thomson Reuters survey.

The company said sales fell because of the unusually mild flu season and because of competition in testing for C. difficile, a bacterium that causes diarrhea and colitis. Last week, Meridian received approval to market its illumigene C. difficile test, and it hopes that test will boost its sales growth.

The company said sales of tests for food borne bacteria grew 38 percent.

Meridian said revenue from its U.S. diagnostics business fell 15 percent to $21.1 million, and European diagnostics revenue slipped to $6.2 million from $7 million. Life science revenue was about flat at $6.5 million.

It also reported higher general and administrative spending during the third quarter.

Meridian said its annual profit and revenue will be at the lower end of its previous forecasts. The company has said its profit will be between 70 cents and 80 cents per share, and revenue will be between $145 million to $153 million in revenue.

Analysts are forecasting net income of 76 cents per share and $148.2 million in revenue, on average.

Meridian also said it purchased reagent maker Bioline for $23.3 million in cash. Bioline is based in London and has operations in the U.S., Germany, and Australia. It said Bioline's annual revenue is expected to exceed $12 million in 2010 and that the deal is expected to boost Meridian's profit late in fiscal 2011.

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