Pacific Biosciences of California (NASDAQ:PACB) is one company that has really surged lately. Shares are up 29% so far in 2013. The company announced results for the fourth quarter after the market closed on Tuesday. Will these results slow PacBio's momentum, or will the surge continue? Let's take a look.
The company reported revenue of $5.9 million for the quarter. That number reflected a 52% decrease from the same quarter in 2011 but was more than double the $2.8 million in revenue from the third quarter of 2012.
Net loss for fourth quarter was $21.7 million, or $0.39 per share, nearly 5% better than the same quarter in the prior year. The loss also showed improvement from the company's third-quarter loss of $22.7 million.
PacBio beat analysts' estimates for revenue but missed on earnings. The average estimate for revenue for the quarter was $4.38 million. Analysts expected a loss of $0.37 per share.
Cash available at the end of 2012 was $100.6 million. As of Sept. 30, PacBio reported $119.4 million in cash and equivalents.
Investors' immediate reaction to the quarterly results was positive, with shares rising more than 1% in after-hours trading. Why was that the case, with PacBio missing analyst earnings estimates?
One possible reason is that revenue was considerably better than analysts expected. The most optimistic analyst covering the stock expected $5.05 million. Another factor could be that PacBio reported a backlog of five RS instruments at the end of 2012 after selling the same number in the fourth quarter. Considering the company didn't sell any of these instruments in the third quarter, that's good news.However, the company noted that it doesn't expect to install all of these systems in the first quarter of 2013.
PacBio's announcement of a new $20.5 million debt financing deal with Deerfield Management didn't seem to muddy the waters, either. Under terms of the arrangement, PacBio secures additional funding to be repaid within seven years. The company also issued warrants for Deerfield to purchase 5.5 million shares at $2.63 per share. Deerfield currently owns 4.9 million shares.
PacBio is seeing improvement in key areas without question. However, my suspicion is that the underlying good mood among shareholders probably stems more from an expectation that PacBio will be an acquisition target than from anything else.
After Roche's (OTC:RHHBY) decision to not move forward with efforts to buy Illumina (NASDAQ:ILMN), some began to speculate that PacBio might be a takeover candidate. Roche hinted that it could pursue another company. The genomic sequencing industry certainly appears to be in the merger and acquisition mode, with Life Technologies (UNKNOWN:LIFE.DL) also recently announcing plans to consider selling.
Will a deal emerge for PacBio in time to justify the stock's latest run-up? While the company hasn't made any statements to encourage such speculation, many investors seem to be voting with their pocketbooks that it will. We'll see over the coming months whether they're right.