Meridian Medical posts $1.2 million quarterly loss Company points to $2.2 million charge in EpiPen recall; Medical technology


Meridian Medical Technologies Inc. reported a loss of $1.2 million, or 41 cents per share, for its third quarter, which ended April 30.

Much of the loss was attributed to the $2.2 million charge the Columbia-based medical devices maker took for costs associated with the company's recall last month of its popular EpiPen, an automatic injection device used to treat potentially life-threatening reactions to food and insect stings.

About 1 million of the devices were voluntarily recalled after the company determined that a percentage of them could fail to deliver the necessary dose of epinephrine to ward off allergic shock.

The company also took a $494,000 charge during the quarter as part of a refinancing of its long-term debt.

Without those two charges, Meridian said, it would have earned $651,000, or 22 cents a share, during its third quarter.

The company earned $589,000, or 20 cents per share, in the third quarter last year.

CEO pleased with outlook

"We are pleased with the increase in core earnings, and are confident of the company's ability to achieve long-term growth in shareholder value as key strategies continue to be implemented," said James H. Miller, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Meridian.

"While the EpiPen recall has had a significant one-time impact on results, Meridian is determined to enhance quality standards to further improve operating performance," Miller said.

Meridian said revenue in the third quarter increased 26 percent to $13.4 million, compared with revenue of $10.7 million in the 1997 quarter.

The company attributed the increase in third-quarter revenue primarily to higher sales of an injection device it makes for the military for chemical and biological warfare protection. The company said EpiPen sales also fueled revenue, growing by 32 percent in the quarter.

During the first nine months of 1998, the company said, it earned $1.9 million, or 64 cents a share, excluding the recall and debt charges. It booked revenue of $34.8 million.

For the same nine months a year earlier, Meridian earned $488,000, or 30 cents per share, excluding costs associated with a merger.

With the one-time recall and debt charges, the company said, it had net income of $42,000, or 1 cent a share, compared with a loss of $4.4 million, or $2.69 a share, in the first nine months of 1997.

Pub Date: 6/03/98

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