Shares of Meridian, whose tests can help doctors detect c. diff infection symptoms, were hovering around $23.87 in late-morning trading, after closing at $27.32 the prior day.
In the company’s third-quarter earnings announcement, the Cincinnati-area company sharply downgraded its full-year guidance on diluted earnings per share. That guidance now stands at 68 cents to 71 cents, down from 77 cents to 82 cents.
The company also dropped its full-year sales guidance to a range of $160 million to $163 million, from a prior estimate of $165 million to $170 million.
CEO John Kraeutler blamed the downward revisions on anticipated continued weakness in two of the company’s three business units: European diagnostics and life science.
Despite seeing third-quarter earnings rise 6 percent to $6.8 million or 17 cents per diluted share, compared with the same period last year, those numbers still came in below analysts’ estimates. The consensus estimate of 12 analysts was diluted per-share earnings of 21 cents.
However, the company did show one area of strength in the quarter — its U.S. diagnostics unit enjoyed year-over-year net sales growth of 13 percent to nearly $24 million. Kraeutler attributed the growth to increasing demand for its tests for various types of bacteria including: C. difficile, E. coli, Campylobacter and H. Pylori.
“This quarter, our strategic successes were overshadowed by weakness coming from areas of our business that have been undergoing major upgrades but have yet to turn the corner,” Kraeutler said. “Our revised guidance reflects near-term expected revenue weakness coming from these areas.”
This week, the companyplansto submit for U.S. regulatory review a new molecular test for Group B Streptococcus called illumigeneGBS. The company expects to begin sales of the test outside of the U.S. in the third quarter.
Meridian also recently filed a 510(k) application for another C. diff test called ImmunoCard GDH. The greatest demand for the test is expected to come from outside the U.S., Kraeutler said.
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