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Cepheid Lowers Outlook Following Q1 Loss, Shares Tumble

Molecular diagnostics company Cepheid (CPHD) on Thursday reported a loss for the first quarter as higher expenses offset strong revenue growth. The company also lowered its earnings outlook for fiscal 2012, sending its shares down more than 5 percent in after-hours trading.

John Bishop, Cepheid's Chief Executive Officer said in a statement, "While our revenue performance was very strong in the first quarter, our profit performance was impacted meaningfully by the scale-up of our manufacturing operations in support of our growing business, and a higher than expected investment in the completion of our CT/NG clinical trial."

Bishop added, "Looking forward, we have stepped up our diligence on expenses, and we are confident that we will return the company to profitability in the second quarter and beyond."

Sunnyvale, California-based Cepheid's clinical business recorded a 33 percent increase in revenues for the first quarter, driven by 41 percent growth in clinical reagents and the largest sequential increase in Xpert test revenue.

The company's first-quarter net loss was $5.53 million or $0.08 per share, compared to net income of $0.53 million or $0.01 per share in the year-ago period.

Excluding items, adjusted net loss was $1.19 million or $0.02 per share, compared to adjusted net income of $5.38 million or $0.08 per share in the prior-year period.

On average, 17 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report a loss of $0.02 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Revenue for the quarter rose 28 percent to $77.29 million from $60.22 million in the same period last year. Analysts had a consensus revenue estimate of $77.41 million.

Total costs and operating expenses for the quarter were $84.96 million, up from $59.05 million in the year-ago period.

Looking ahead to fiscal 2012, Cepheid now expects net earnings of $0.12 to $0.17 per share and adjusted earnings in a range of $0.50 to $0.55 per share. Earlier, the company forecast earnings of $0.17 to $0.24 per share and adjusted earnings of $0.55 to $0.60 per share.

The company, however, maintained its forecast for full-year revenues of $333 million to $347 million.

Analysts currently expect earnings of $0.24 per share for the year on revenues of $342.04 million.

CPHD closed Thursday's trading at $40.58, up $0.68 or 1.70 percent on a volume of 1.02 million shares. In after-hours trading, the stock declined $2.18 or 5.37 percent to $38.40.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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