IDEXX shares climb on record diagnostics placements and Q2 earnings gain

Veterinary diagnostics maker IDEXX ($IDXX) reported on Thursday that its revenues for the second quarter grew 6% year over year to $413 million, as placements of its blood analysis systems hit a record of 900 units for the period. Placements of its Catalyst One next-generation chemistry analyzer skyrocketed 44% to an all-time record of 1,100 units, the company said in a press release announcing the results.

Earnings came in at $56.9 million, or $0.60 a share, beating the average analyst estimate of $0.58 reported by Zacks. Earnings grew 18% year over year when adjusted for currency impact, according to the release. IDEXX recently moved to an all-direct sales model in the U.S., resulting in "incremental margin capture" that benefited the company.

IDEXX CEO Jonathan Ayers

"We expect continued momentum with instrument placements and have updated our outlook to well over 9,000 chemistry and hematology instrument placements for the full year 2015, which bodes well for long-term growth in the recurring instrument consumable revenues," IDEXX CEO Jonathan Ayers said in the earnings release.

It's been an up-and-down year for IDEXX, which is facing competitive challenges at home and unfavorable exchange rates abroad. After upping its financial forecasts in February, IDEXX disappointed investors in the first quarter and dampened its full-year estimates. On Thursday, the company reaffirmed its most recent guidance, telling investors to expect full-year revenues of $1.6 billion to $1.62 billion and earnings per share between $2.07 and $2.12.

Diagnostics is one of the hottest pursuits in animal health, leaving IDEXX with a large and growing group of competitors. Ayers said in the announcement that in head-to-head comparison studies, the company's rapid assays have demonstrated superiority in the accurate detection of infectious diseases. "We know that test accuracy is the primary factor that customers value with these in-house kits," Ayers said, adding that the company's sales force is "well equipped" to communicate the study results to potential veterinary clients.

Investors seem to be confident IDEXX can follow through on those promises. The company's shares, which had traded as low as $56.75 during the past year, rose 9% to $72.48 following the earnings announcement.

- here's the earnings release