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UPDATE 2-Qiagen is interested in organic growth and acquisitions - CEO

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Zuzanna Szymanska
·2 min read
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* Qiagen to grow organically, buy smaller companies

* Wants to avoid dependency on COVID-19 products

* The company reported an FY beat late on Tuesday(Adds analyst comment, details about FY results)

By Zuzanna Szymanska

Feb 10 (Reuters) - Genetic testing specialist Qiagen'sChief Executive Thierry Bernard said the company isinterested in organic growth and "bolt-on" acquisitions, whenasked about recent merger and acquisition speculation during aresults conference call on Wednesday.

Late on Monday, Bloomberg News reported that U.S.diagnostics firm Quidel Corp is looking to make atakeover offer for Qiagen, a move that would follow ThermoFisher's bid from August 2020 that was rejected byshareholders as being underpriced.

"We will continue, obviously, to consider any kind ofpotential bolt-on acquisitions that could support and strengthenour portfolio. But, as we said, not if it's a game to dilute ouractivities," Bernard said.

He did not mention the reports on potential negotiationswith U.S. diagnostics company Quidel.

Following Bloomberg's report, analysts have said the deal is"unlikely" or "would not make sense" as the companies sellcompeting products, limiting potential synergies, and the dealwould increase Qiagen's dependency on residual COVID-19 testing,which it is trying to avoid.

Qiagen's products include several types of COVID-19 teststhat helped it recover after struggles in 2019, but it plans tokeep growing sales even after the pandemic by making sure eachnew coronavirus-related product has other applications as well.

According to Bernard, Qiagen should grow sales of itsautomated, digital PCR and tuberculosis testing solutions by20-150% in 2021 as the pandemic helped it bring its products tonew markets.

"We have gained potentially one or two years of marketgrowth as regards instrument placement," Bernard said.

According to analysts, these improvements are "important"and make Qiagen less likely to see a sharp post-COVID-19 shareprice correction compared to its competitors.

Qiagen's Germany-listed shares were up 1.7% by 1530 GMT.

The company reported better-than-expected quarterly salesand profit growth late on Tuesday.(Reporting by Zuzanna Szymanska in Gdansk;Editing by Bernadette Baum)