BioFire buy boosts bioMérieux earnings

BioFire's FilmArray system with multi-PCR capability--Courtesy of BioFire

France's bioMérieux reported a rise in quarterly earnings of 3.3%, compared to the first three months of 2013, to $512.50 million.

The acquisition of Utah-based BioFire Diagnostics earlier this year added $19.3 million in quarterly revenues, the company said. The majority of the additional sales come from the unit's FilmArray Respiratory and Blood Culture Identification panels.

"BioFire's FilmArray system pursued its rapid expansion, with 55 new instruments installed since the company's acquisition," CEO Alexandre Mérieux said in a statement.

North America experienced the biggest rise in sales to $95.5 million, or 16.8% as reported. Sales in Asia-Pacific and Latin America fell by 6.3% and 10.5% respectively.

Among various clinical application groups, sales nearly doubled in the molecular biology line to $32.7 million thanks to the BioFire acquisition. Even excluding the acquisition, the line experienced a 10.8% organic growth rate. Meanwhile, microbiology sales fell 3.0% on a reported basis.

The company's net debt stood at $444 million at current exchange rates, and it has a net cash position of $35.3 million.

Could another acquisition be around the corner? In March, Reuters reported that the company is eyeing Siemens' ($SI) diagnostic unit, which is valued at approximately $500 million.

BioMérieux was weighed down by currency fluctuations in the quarter. Taking exchange rates into account (and not the recent purchase), organic growth was $1 million or 4.1% compared to Q1 2013.

Q2 will be the first full quarter with Mérieux at the helm; he took over from Jean-Luc Bélingard in mid-April.

- read the release (PDF)