Heska scores record 2014 sales on 'more focused' strategy

Veterinary diagnostics maker Heska ($HSKA) fell short of analysts' earnings expectations for the fourth quarter of 2014, but the company's record results for the full year were enough to satisfy investors. Heska's stock rose 2% on Thursday to $22.85, after the company announced that its 2014 sales jumped 15% to a record $89.8 million and that it swung from a net loss to a profit of $2.6 million, or 41 cents per share.

In the fourth quarter, Heska earned $829,000, or 12 cents per share, on sales of $24.3 million. Analysts had been expecting earnings of 15 cents per share, according to Zacks.

Heska has been changing its business model over the past year, shifting to a system where revenues come not just from equipment sales, but also from rentals and other recurring sources. "These multiple period programs are investments in our business model that dampen short term results, in exchange for long-term, contracted, protected growth," said Heska CEO Kevin Wilson in a press release.

"Heska finished 2014 a much more focused and better positioned commercial force than at any time in our history," Wilson said. "I expect Heska to compete for and to win market share and increased profits in 2015 and beyond."

The company has also worked hard to expand its sales footprint, signing an agreement with giant veterinary distributor Henry Schein Animal Health late last year. Schein is distributing Heska's blood-analysis equipment and consumables, and early results have been "impressive," Wilson said in the statement.

Heska's management team has been trying to boost the company's visibility on Wall Street, too. Last year, some analysts expressed impatience with the company as its stock flattened, with one even chiding Wilson for his "minimalist" efforts to bring more attention to Heska. So the Colorado company came to New York, hosting an Investor Day at Nasdaq in November, during which Wilson and other executives further described their new business model.

The company's turnaround strategy seems to be working: Heska's stock has jumped 80% in the last six months.

- here's the earnings release
- read more at the Associated Press

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