Bio-Rad Laboratories to raise $250M in private placement

Biology instrument and lab test maker Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc. will raise $250 million in a private placement offering (via PPM).

The 6,500-person Hercules business (NYSE: BIO) will spend the money on general expenses and possibly on acquisitions.

In the March quarter, Bio-Rad’s sales fell 5 percent to $400.9 million, though after correcting for currency changes its sales grew by 3.2 percent year-over-year. Sales in its biology segment fell, but sales of clinical tests, including those for diabetes and blood viruses, rose 7.2 percent after correcting for changes in the value of the dollar.

Bio-Rad earned a profit of $30.3 million in the March quarter, up from a profit of $26.5 million a year earlier in the same period. The company has earned a profit between $66 million and $103 million in each of the past five years.

In December, Bio-Rad spent $17 million cash to buy DiaMed Fennica Oy and DiaMed (G.B.) Ltd. Last month it paid about $30 million for 955 shares in DiaMed Holding AG.

Norman Schwartz is president and CEO of Bio-Rad.

The Schwartz family owns 16 percent of Bio-Rad’s class A common stock, and 90 percent of its class B common stock. Class A shareholders elect 25 percent of the company’s board, while class B shareholders elect the rest.

Schwartz family members — David, Alice, Norman and Steven — are general partners in Blue Raven Partners LP, which shares the 1000 Alfred Nobel Drive address in Hercules with Bio-Rad and owns 4 million of the company’s class B shares.

David Schwartz, 85, has been chairman of Bio-Rad’s board since 1957, five years after the business started. He and Alice Schwartz are the parents of CEO Norman Schwartz.

Christine Tsingos is chief financial officer of Bio-Rad.
http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2009/05/18/daily20.html

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