Flu test sales boost Meridian 3Q profit 16 percent

AP News
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Posted: Nov 12, 2009 8:57 AM

Meridian Bioscience Inc. said Thursday its profit rose 16 percent in its fiscal fourth quarter due to strong sales of its rapid flu test, which is marketed as a potential detector of swine flu.

Meridian said its profit grew to $8.9 million, or 22 cents per share, from $7.7 million, or 19 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 16 percent to $42.5 million from $36.5 million.

According to a Thomson Reuters survey, analysts were expecting 21 cents per share and $38.7 million in revenue.

The company reported strong sales of respiratory products, including its TRU FLU kit, which is approved to detect seasonal flu. It also said sales of its test for the respiratory syncytial virus were solid. RSV is the most common cause of lower respiratory tract illnesses in infants and young children.

In mid-September, the Food and Drug Administration allowed Meridian to update the packaging of TRU FLU to indicate it is sensitive to two swine flu strains. TRU FLU's ability to detect the strains has not been proved.

Meridian said its fiscal 2009 profit increased 8 percent to $32.8 million, or 80 cents per share, from $30.2 million, or 74 cents per share. Revenue grew 6 percent to $148.3 million from $139.6 million.

The company backed its profit guidance for fiscal 2010. Meridian expects a profit of 90 cents to 95 cents per share in fiscal 2010, on $160 million to $165 million in revenue. Analysts are forecasting 92 cents per share and $160.2 million in the year ending Sept. 30.