Meridian net income up tenfold for 4th quarter

Howard medical company attributes success to sales of automatic injectors

Earnings

September 15, 2000|By Stacey Hirsh | Stacey Hirsh,SUN STAFF

Columbia-based Meridian Medical Technologies Inc. reported fourth-quarter net income yesterday of $1 million, up from $99,000 for the fourth quarter last year.

Earnings per share were 31 cents for the quarter ending July 31, up from 3 cents.

Much of the company's success was fueled by sales of its core products. Meridian manufactures EpiPens, automatic injectors filled with epinephrine to calm reactions to bee stings and other allergies, and prefilled auto-injectors to treat the effects of chemical warfare.

That portion of the business made up 97 percent of its quarterly revenue.

James H. Miller, Meridian's president and chief executive officer, said the numbers demonstrate "the strength of our core business, and the optimism for the future of our new products, particularly Prime [ECG]."

Prime ECG, which was patented in April and does body surface mapping, is Meridian's newest endeavor.

The company unveiled the product this month at the annual congress of the European Society of Cardiology in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

During the fourth quarter, Meridian delivered the first of what it anticipates will be a series of nerve gas antidote kits to help major cities prepare for terrorist attacks. The nerve gas antidote injectors are being sold through Metropolitan Medical Response Systems, or MMRS, a program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Emergency Preparedness.

Meridian also saw an annual net profit of $2.3 million this year, compared with a net loss of $1.7 million last year.

Revenues for the quarter rose 60 percent, to $16.7 million - the highest in the company's history - compared with $10.4 million during the fourth quarter of last year.

Meridian reported a 34 percent increase in annual revenues, to $54.6 million from $40.7 million a year ago.

"We're pleased with where we are," Miller said, "but now we're really focused on moving forward."

Shares of Meridian closed yesterday at $16, up $2.125.

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