Stratec Drops as Abbott Laboratories Leaves Partnership

Stratec Biomedical AG fell to almost a two-year low after analysts at Kepler Cheuvreux said the medical-analysis equipment maker may miss growth opportunities after Abbott Laboratories ended a partnership.

Stratec dropped as much as 7.4 percent to 26.40 euros, the lowest intraday price since September 2011, and was trading down 6 percent at 1:42 p.m. in Frankfurt, valuing the German company at 314.6 million euros ($410 million). The daily trading volume was more than five times the three-month average.

The end of the development program with U.S. drugmaker Abbott is “a meaningful setback of a kind we so far considered highly unlikely,” Fabian Wenner and Maja Pataki, Zurich-based analysts at Kepler Cheuvreux, said today in a research note. “We see higher instrument demand, and Abbott was supposed to be a key driver for 2014 and 2015.”

Stratec and Abbott’s diagnostics unit reached an agreement in December 2010 to cooperate on developing an analyzer system. Birkenfeld, Germany-based Stratec said on July 12 that Abbott decided against proceeding because of strategy changes. The German company cut its forecasts for 2013 to a range of 127 million euros to 138 million euros and earnings before interest and taxes at 14 percent to 15.5 percent of sales because of Abbott’s withdrawal.

The Kepler Cheuvreux analysts said Stratec’s earlier projections were for revenue of 145 million euros to 150 million euros, with an Ebit margin range of 15.5 percent to 16 percent. They downgraded Stratec’s recommendation to hold from buy and reduced their stock-price estimate to 28.50 euros from 41 euros.

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