Digene's 4Q loss widens to 25 cents a share

Failed merger deal with Cytyc takes toll

August 28, 2002|By Andrea K. Walker | Andrea K. Walker,SUN STAFF

Digene Corp. said yesterday that its fiscal fourth-quarter loss widened because of a failed attempt to merge with diagnostic testing company Cytyc Corp.

Gaithersburg-based Digene posted a loss of $4.5 million, or 25 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $1.3 million, or 8 cents a share, reported for last year's fourth quarter.

The company said the failed merger attempt cost it about $2 million in fourth-quarter expenses.

On June 30, Digene terminated its agreement to be acquired by Massachusetts-based Cytyc Corp. because of opposition from the Federal Trade Commission, which said the merger would interfere with competition.

That failed deal also hurt Digene's annual earnings, costing the company about $3 million, officials said. The company's net loss for fiscal 2002 was $9.4 million, or 54 cents a share, compared with $6.5 million, or 39 cents a share, last year.

Digene's fourth-quarter revenue increased more than 23 percent, to $12.7 million from $10.3 million in the 2001 quarter. For the year, the company had revenue of $48.8 million, an increase of nearly 43 percent from last year's $34.2 million. Digene had expected full-year revenue to total $51 million.

Digene had lowered its earnings expectations last month. The company announced then that it did not get about $2.2 million it had expected under a deal it had with the Swiss company Roche Holdings AG for Roche to sell Digene's human papillomavirus test.

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