Dutch nucleic acid specialist Qiagen reported strong growth in sales in the first quarter of 2004, ahead of its forecasts, as spending by companies in the pharmaceutical industry returns to historical levels, writes Wai Lang Chu.
The company reported first-quarter sales rose by 21 per cent to $96.1 million (€79.6 million), compared to the same period in 2003. Last year Qiagen posted revenues of $351.4 million.
Qiagen develops and markets a broad range of proprietary products for academic and industrial markets, specialising in technologies and products for separating and purifying nucleic acids (DNA and RNA).
Qiagen's operating income for the quarter increased 12 per cent to $18.1 million, while net income for the quarter increased 4 per cent to $11.4 million.
Peer Schatz, Qiagen's chief executive, said: "We are very pleased to start the new year by exceeding our projections for the first quarter."
"The growth in revenues in the first quarter was driven by a strong and organic growth of 24 per cent in our consumable business which represents nearly 80 per cent of our overall revenues."
Operating income increased 8 per cent to $19.0 million from $17.7 million in the comparable period in 2003, while diluted earnings per share (EPS) remained unchanged at $0.08. Net income increased 14 per cent to $12.0 million.
Schatz commented: "We observed a further acceleration in sales in North America to a growth rate of 12 per cent. This growth is also driven by a re-emerging demand for our products from our customers in the pharmaceutical industry."
In 2004, Qiagen introduced a number of new products designed to help the company reach its objectives for 2004.
These products include the QIAamp DSP Virus Kit - the first CE-certified stand-alone manual sample preparation system for purification of viral nucleic acids and virus diagnostics.
Qiagen also launched a series of off-the-shelf human library small interfering RNA (siRNA) sets, covering a broad gene family selection including kinases, G protein-coupled receptors, apoptosis related genes.