Bull of the Day: Mesa Laboratories (MLAB)


Mesa Laboratories (NASDAQ:) MLAB is a $1.7 billion provider of quality control monitoring and validation instruments serving niche markets in healthcare, industrial, pharmaceutical, medical and food processing applications.

I last wrote about Mesa Labs on October 8 after the company made an important acquisition that was immediately accretive to earnings and so analysts quickly raised estimates. I’ll explain that move again coming up. First let’s talk about their recent quarterly report.

On November 4, Mesa Labs delivered Q2 FY22 EPS of $1.87 beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.29 per share by 45%. This compares to earnings of $1.91 per share a year ago.

MLAB, which belongs to the Zacks Medical Instruments industry, posted revenues of $35.84 million for the quarter ended September 2021, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 2.55%. This compares to year-ago revenues of $31.86 million. The company has topped consensus revenue estimates four times over the last four quarters.

Analysts See Strong Growth Ahead

The Zacks revenue consensus for this FY22 is $174 million, representing 30% growth. And next year is projected to be just as strong with early indications calling for $225 million, a 29% annual advance.

After the big earnings beat, the Zacks EPS consensus for FY22 (ends March) rose from $7.68 to $8.10 to account for the positive surprise. But next fiscal year’s estimates rose as well. KeyBanc took their FY23 (begins April) estimates from $10.86 to $11.03, representing 36% annual growth.

Not all analysts have raised their EPS estimates yet and coverage is low for this small cap. Analysts are still getting their spreadsheets around the big deal that just went down.

MLAB Adds a Clinical Genomics Division

Here’s what I wrote in early October…

Mesa Labs is back in the upper realms of the Zacks Rank after analysts raised estimates to account for a key acquisition that will allow expansion into a critical new healthcare arena. This deal has also vaulted shares to new highs above $300.

On September 14, Mesa Laboratories announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Agena Bioscience for a cash purchase price of $300 million. Headquartered in San Diego, Agena is a leading molecular diagnostics tools company that develops, manufactures, and supplies highly sensitive, low-cost, high-throughput, genetic analysis solutions to clinical labs and development partners globally.

Peter Dansky, CEO of Agena, will join Mesa to lead the new Clinical Genomics Division.

Excluding the impact of COVID-19 related revenues, Agena is expected to add between $63 million to $67 million of revenues — about a 50% increase — during the first 12 months of ownership, deliver high single digit organic revenues growth over the next several years and excluding the impact of purchase accounting, generate gross profit percentages in the mid to high 60’s.

Additionally, excluding the impact of COVID-19 related revenues, purchase accounting and integration expenses, Mesa expects adjusted operating income as a percentage of revenues to approach 20% for the same first 12 months of ownership.

Following the news, KeyBanc analysts wrote this…

Former Danaher DHR executive Gary Owens, who was head of Genomics and now CEO of Mesa Labs, announced the acquisition of Agena Biosciences. Agena is significantly non-GAAP EPS accretive, increases overall growth of Mesa, and like most diversified LST companies establishes a diagnostic platform.

We increase estimate a blended organic growth rate 200-300 bps above the prior pace of 4-6%. Using a new sum-of-the-parts model, we raise our Fair Value from $300 to $330 per share.

The Exploding World of Genetic Diagnostics

One of the most exciting areas of medicine right now involves companies offering innovative genomics and testing solutions for doctors, scientists, and clinical lab services. Three such companies, all with different niches, are Invitae (NYSE:) NVTA, Natera (NASDAQ:) NTRA, and Pacific Biosciences (NASDAQ:) PACB.

It looks like Mesa Labs’ recent expansion will offer them more opportunities to serve companies like these.

Disclosure: I own PACB and NTRA shares for the Zacks Healthcare Innovators portfolio.

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