March 6, 2012 / 11:11 PM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 2-Nordion's adjusted earnings, revenue drop

* Adjusted EPS $0.11 vs $0.21 year earlier

* Revenue down 18 pct at $53.0 million

* Still discussing role in CardioGen-82 restart

TORONTO, March 6 (Reuters) - Medical isotope provider Nordion Inc said on Tuesday that its quarterly performance had been “lower than expected,” as it reported a net loss and lower earnings on an adjusted basis.

Revenue at the Ottawa-based company fell in the first quarter, hurt by lower sales of cobalt-60, an isotope used in sterilization, as well as by last year’s voluntary recall of the CardioGen-82, a diagnostic device Nordion had manufactured on contract for Bracco Diagnostics Inc.

Bracco said in February that it would restart production of the CardioGen-82, which would be sold with revised prescribing information. But Nordion said it is still in talks with Bracco.

“We’re in current discussions with them around what that would look like, so we need to get through that before we can definitely say we’re back in line,” Peter Dans, chief financial officer, told Reuters shortly after the results were released.

“But we’ve been one of their key suppliers historically. We have the infrastructure in place to do the manufacturing.”

Dans said cobalt-60 shipments tend to vary between quarters in non-seasonal ways, and the company expects overall revenue from that business to be in line with 2011. Previously, it had forecast revenue to rise slightly.

The company also lowered its overall revenue forecast.

“Our current guidance is that for the total year that our revenue will be down, which is a bit lower than what we previously had provided,” said Dans.

The results were also hurt by weaker volume and pricing of molybdenum-99.

Nordion is one of the world’s leading producers of the isotope, used in medical imaging, but some customers looked to other producers when Canada’s aging Chalk River nuclear reactor, which supplies Nordion’s raw materials, was shut down over safety concerns 2007 and again in 2009.

Dans said that while the business had been hurt year over year, it was stable on a serial basis.

The company has said in the past that growth will be driven by its “targeted therapies” business, including liver cancer treatment TheraSphere. The company said TheraSphere revenue rose 23 percent to $11 million in the quarter, thanks to new customers.

Nordion’s net loss for the quarter ended Jan. 31 was $887,000, or 1 cent a share, compared with a year-earlier profit of $21.5 million, or 38 cents.

Excluding special items, mainly an adjustment related to foreign exchange on supply contracts, net earnings fell to $7.1 million, or 11 cents a share, compared with $14.0 million, or 21 cents. Revenue dropped 18 percent to $53.0 million.

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