Neogen 3Q profit soars 27 pct, aided by meat tests

Neogen 3rd quarter profit soars 27 pct, helped by meat species test kit demand in Europe

Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Neogen Corp.'s fiscal third-quarter earnings jumped 27 percent, as Europe's horse meat scandal helped the food and animal testing company's revenue climb.

The Lansing, Mich., company said Tuesday sales of its test kits for meat species and related laboratory services more than tripled compared to the previous quarter, and that helped revenue from its European subsidiary grow 18 percent compared with last year's quarter.

Reports of horse meat contaminating meat labeled as beef have surfaced across Europe in recent months. Food providers like Taco Bell, Burger King and Ikea have had to remove products from the market after revelations of horse meat contamination. Authorities have said the fraudulent labeling poses no health risk, and the contamination has been relatively rare.

Neogen also said a shift toward more profitable products like food safety diagnostics helped its performance, as did lower raw material costs and productivity improvements.

Overall, the company earned $6.6 million, or 27 cents per share, in the quarter that ended Feb. 28. That compares with earnings of $5.2 million, or 22 cents per share, in the 2012 quarter.

Revenue rose 14 percent to $51.1 million.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected, on average, earnings of 27 cents per share on $50.8 million in revenue.

Company shares hit a 52-week high price of $49.76 Tuesday morning before retreating to $48.60, which was up 2 cents from their Monday closing price. Meanwhile, broader trading indexes also rose slightly.

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