Heska hits record Q1 thanks to strong blood diagnostics sales


Colorado veterinary diagnostics maker Heska is celebrating record first quarter earnings results powered by better-than-expected performance from its vaccines and pharma unit and strong sales of its blood tests. The results come as music to the company’s ears as it continues to deliver on a turnaround plan that it rolled out in 2014.

Heska’s sales shot up to $27.1 million in Q1, a 19% increase over Q1 2015. Sales from blood testing tools and consumables pitched in with $11.4 million in revenue. Vaccines, drugs and other products contributed $3.7 million in revenue, up from $3.3 million during the same quarter last year.

Investors seemed pleased with those numbers. Heska’s stock shot up 20% to $35.86 the day the company reported earnings.

Blood analyzers continued to be profitable for Heska in Q1. New customers comprised about 71% of placements during the quarter, and more than 70%, or 2,250, of those customers were medium, large or very large. Heska also saw greater enrollment in multi-year blood testing and consumables agreements, CEO Kevin Wilson said on the company’s Q1 earnings call.

“The benefits to having reached this critical adoption mass are numerous, including significant long-term momentum and visibility for Heska, unrivaled value for veterinarians, installed base stability from which to grow and extend enrollments, and lower transactional costs and barriers to doing business with Heska,” Wilson said in a statement.

Vaccines and pharma also delivered for the company, even though Heska wasn’t expecting much due to temporary headwinds. Sales from a new reproductive product offset lower revenues for cattle vaccines for international distribution, CFO Jason Napolitano said on the earnings call.

Heska is also working on building out its offerings. The Loveland, CO-based company has launched new versions of its Element HT5 Hematology and Element POC blood gas analyzers. Last year, Heska said it would pay $6 million for Cuattro Veterinary to get its hands on the company’s new digital radiography and imaging products.

The deal, which is expected to close this month, is also meant to expand Heska’s international presence. Cuattro is established in Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America, and Heska wants to tap into these markets to drive growth.

“We like to compete, and in the areas that we compete geographically I think we are showing that we compete very well,” Wilson said on the earnings call. “(W)e think that as we expand that geography and we complete the acquisition of the international imaging business and we move similar business model to primarily Western European countries, Scandinavia … we'll have some more success competing.”

- here’s Heska’s earnings statement
- read the call transcript from Seeking Alpha

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