Alere Inc. (ALR)

ALR 
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Alere (ALR)

Q4 2011 Earnings Call

February 08, 2012 8:30 am ET

Executives

Doug Guarino - Director of Corporate Communications & Corporate Relations

Ron Zwanziger - Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and President

David A. Teitel - Chief Financial Officer, Principal Accounting Officer, Vice President and Treasurer

Analysts

Ashim Anand - Natixis Bleichroeder LLC, Research Division

John M. Putnam - Capstone Investments, Research Division

Peter Lawson - Mizuho Securities USA Inc., Research Division

Zarak Khurshid - Wedbush Securities Inc., Research Division

Gregory J. Simpson - Wunderlich Securities Inc., Research Division

Isaac Ro - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Jonathan P. Groberg - Macquarie Research

Bill Bonello - RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division

Jeffrey Frelick - Canaccord Genuity, Research Division

Nicholas Jansen - Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division

Presentation

Operator

Good morning, and welcome to the Alere Inc. conference call to discuss fourth quarter 2011 results. [Operator Instructions] Please note this event is being recorded. I would now like to turn the conference over to Doug Guarino. Please go ahead.

Doug Guarino

Thank you, Amy. Good morning, and welcome to the Alere conference call to discuss our results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2011. We are joined today by Ron Zwanziger, Chairman and CEO; and Dave Teitel, CFO.

Before we get to that discussion though, I would first like to draw your attention to the fact that certain matters discussed in this conference call will constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the U.S. securities laws. These statements reflect our current views with respect to future events of financial performance and are based on management's current assumptions and information currently available. Actual results and the timing of certain events could differ materially from those projected or contemplated by the forward-looking statements due to numerous factors including, without limitation, our ability to successfully acquire and integrate our acquisitions and to recognize the expected benefits of restructuring and new business activities; our exposure to changes in interest rates and foreign currency exchange rates; our ability to successfully develop and commercialize products; the market acceptance of our products; continued acceptance of health management services by payers, providers and patients; our ability to develop enhanced health management programs through the integrated use of innovative diagnostic and monitoring devices, and to recognize the expected benefits of this strategy; the impact of health care reform legislation as well as future reform initiatives; the content and timing of decisions by regulatory authorities as well as the impact of changes in reimbursement policy and budgetary constraints, both in the United States and abroad; the effect of pending and future legal proceedings in our financial performance; and the risks and uncertainties described in our periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2010, as well as in our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. Our company undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements.

Additionally, please note that during this call, we may discuss non-GAAP financial measures. For each non-GAAP financial measure discussed, a presentation of the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure and a reconciliation of the differences between the non-GAAP financial measure discussed and the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure is available on the company's website at alere.com.

And with that, let me turn the call over to Alere Chairman and CEO, Ron Zwanziger. Ron?

Ron Zwanziger

Thanks, Doug, and good morning, everyone. Our fourth quarter results were impacted by significant headwinds, which emerged in Europe, midway through the quarter and not only affected our financial results but our comfort in setting an upper range to our 2012 earnings outlook. On the positive side, sales growth in Asia Pacific region was strong, global new product sales showed encouraging acceleration and our Health Management unit continued to stabilize. Finally, in the fourth quarter, we reentered the diabetes marketplace and began to address the primary missing element in our portfolio approach towards the most expensive chronic diseases. I'll expand briefly now on some of these elements.

While Europe remained relatively strong during the first 10 months of the year, our November, December were particularly weak. While we had been highlighting the risk in Europe on earnings call during the past year, the abruptness which the situation deteriorate was still frankly surprising to us. While we're pleased that sales in Europe have been steady so far in the first quarter, continued uncertainty over the macroeconomic environment combined with how quickly ordering patterns can change has us feeling uncomfortable about predicting the European outlook for 2012. This concern compounded by an ease over the potential for further declines in U.S. states spending on health improvements programs led us in an Investor Conference in January to provide only minimal guidance around 2012 earnings. At that conference, we said that we expect to exceed $250 million in adjusted cash basis EPS in 2012, but the extent to which we exceed that minimum target cannot be predicted at this time, which continues to be our view today.

Despite the fourth quarter challenges in Europe, sales in the Asia Pacific region continued to accelerate supported by substantial growth in our high-margin cardiology and infectious disease products. As was the case in Q3, sales in Japan was strong in the fourth quarter with revenues continuing to rebound from the effects of the earlier problems in that country, supported as well as the impact of an expanded sales force supporting the numerous cardiology products, which were approved recently in Japan.

Through the full year of 2011, we achieved new product sales of $39 million, with $13 million occurring in the fourth quarter. The improvement in new product revenue performance in Q4 was driven by increases in sales related to our CD4 Analyzer as well as our blood gas and electrolyte system. These important platforms are achieving increased medical adoption, and this is a key factor behind our belief that new product sales will increasingly contribute to our expanding organic growth rate over the next several years despite any short-term fluctuations associated with economic issues in various countries.

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