For the second time in the past three quarters, Caliper Life Sciences Inc. (NSDQ:CALP) made a profit.
At many companies, that would hardly qualify as news. But at Caliper — at least since early 2001 — net income of any size was missing in action. The Hopkinton, Mass.-based laboratory instruments and service provider racked up 34 consecutive quarters of net losses, generating a $294-million gusher of red ink before snapping that streak during the final three months of 2009.
The company again lost money during the first quarter of 2010 but returned to the winner’s column in the three months that ended June 30, producing a $9.2 million profit on $30.8 million in revenues. That compares with $4.1 million net loss on $32.1 million during the second quarter of 2009.
The second-quarter bottom line got a big boost by an 11.1 million after-tax gain on a divesture. But even without that advantage, Caliper was within close range of a break-even quarter when $1.2 million in amortization costs for acquisition-related intangibles and a $603,000 restructuring charge are also deducted from the equation.
One factor behind the improving financials was the $2.1 million reduction in the company’s operating loss, falling to $1.7 million from last year’s $3.8 million operating loss. The company narrowed losses connected to the cost of both product and service revenues as well as reducing its selling, general and administrative costs while only trimming it research and development budget by about $300,000 compared with 2009 levels. The cost of licensing revenues was one exception to the trend, rising 68 percent from 2009, largely due to increased licensing revenues making up a larger slice of Caliper’s revenue stream.
Overall sales fell 10 percent from the year-ago quarter, declining to $29 million from the $32.1 million reported during the same period in 2009. Last year’s results, however, included revenues from Caliper’s former Xenogen Biosciences unit, divested in late 2009; when ongoing business revenues are compared, Caliper executives estimate second-quarter totals rose 4 percent from a year ago, including the effect of currency conversions.
The company’s IVIS imaging instruments and related reagent product lines continue to post gains in year-over-year comparisons and from the preceeding quarter, reaching $14.8 million. Research revenues were off 12 percent to 13.2 million, mostly due to a $2.6 drop in automation sales (including $1.2 million from XenBio) offset by rising sales in Caliper’s higher-margin LabChip product family.
Revenues in the Caliper Discovery Alliances and Services segment also fell over $3 million to just over $1 million during the recent quarter as income tied to a large oncology project that peaked last year continued to decline. But during the quarter, however, the unit won a new $2.9 million funding commitment from the U.S. Environment Protection Agency, with much of the new work with the EPA ToxCast screening program expected to begin yet this year.
The company did not change its 2010 guidance, sticking to its previous call for between $117 million to $120 million in revenues this year.