VCA animal hospitals report higher Q1 earnings

The California-based veterinary hospital chain VCA ($WOOF) reported strong earnings last period due, in part, to the strength of its pet clinics and recent acquisitions like the deal done with Abaxis ($ABAX) just over a month ago.

In reporting its first-quarter 2015 earnings, VCA saw revenues jump 11.1% to $499.5 million from a year ago, and net income rose 12.5% to $38.3 million, the company said in a press release. Animal hospital revenues for the quarter were 11.8% higher at $393 million versus the same period a year ago, "driven by acquisitions made during the past year as well as same-store revenue growth of 5.4%," Robert Antin, president and CEO, said in a statement.

In March, Antech Diagnostics, the lab division of VCA, paid $21 million in cash for the assets of Abaxis' Veterinary Reference Laboratory. VCA and Abaxis will market a service that will include Abaxis point-of-care diagnostic products.

During an earnings call with analysts Friday Antin addressed some of the challenges of the purchase.

"Our challenge is to convert the labs, their lab clients are numerous (more than 2,500)," he said. "But they are all very small. So it's assembling and bringing over many, many, many small accounts. So that's going to be the challenge."

Abaxis reported its fourth-quarter and full-year 2015 earnings last week as well. Revenues from continuing operations were $52 million for the quarter, up 33% from the same period a year ago, and fiscal year 2015 revenues were $202.6 million, a gain of 25% from the prior year, the company said in a press release.

In a separate release, Abaxis announced that Alberto Ines, CFO and vice president of finance for the past 15 years, will retire at the end of July. He will be replaced by Ross Taylor, currently the company's vice president of business development and investor relations.

- see VCA's earnings release
- see Abaxis' earnings release
- read Abaxis' management change release