Strong Public Health Sales and Operational Turnaround Result In Small Profit for Quarter BEAVERTON, Ore., Oct. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Epitope, Inc. (Nasdaq: EPTO) today announced preliminary results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended September 30, 1998. These figures are preliminary and are subject to potential year-end audit adjustments. The company plans to release audited results by the end of November 1998. The company stated that it expects to report 1998 sales of approximately $3.3 million for the fourth quarter and approximately $9.8 million for the full fiscal year. The company's preliminary results show a small profit in the fourth quarter, and a loss for the 1998 fiscal year of approximately $2 million, or $0.15 per share. The expected results represent a significant improvement over results for 1997 when the company lost $1.9 million, or $0.14 per share, on $1.5 million in sales in the fourth quarter, and $4.1 million, or $0.30 per share on $9.4 million in sales for the full year. The expected results for the 1998 fourth quarter would represent the company's first operating profit in its history and reflect management's successful revitalization of the company's strategic direction, a significant reduction in costs, and increased control over cash use. The results would also mark the company's first quarter of positive cash flow from operations. Cash and cash equivalent balances ended the year at $5.6 million, as a result of positive cash flow for the fourth quarter. The company ended the year with no debt on its balance sheet. The company noted that fiscal 1998 product revenues, which exclude revenues from research grants and contracts, increased 21 percent over the prior year. Particularly strong sales growth in the public health market, the resolution of inventory problems in the life insurance market, and sales to several new important international markets, including Argentina and Japan, each contributed to the increase in revenues. "We are pleased with the performance of our key product OraSure(R) in the quarter. All indications suggest that sales volume for the product has picked up in the domestic market as well as internationally. The consistent increase in sales over the last few quarters and our substantial reduction in operating costs during the year give us confidence in the strategy and products of the company," said John W. Morgan, president and chief executive officer. Epitope, Inc. develops and markets medical diagnostic products. The company's principal products, including the OraSure oral specimen collection device, focus on the use of oral fluid to detect HIV infection and other conditions, and are marketed primarily in the life insurance and public health sectors. Statements in this press release about future sales levels or other future events or performance are forward-looking statements. The company's actual results could be significantly different. Factors that could affect results include the extent of future use of oral testing and OraSure in the insurance industry or other key markets; ability of the company to develop product distribution channels; development of competing products; changes in federal or state law or regulations; and loss of key personnel. Although forward-looking statements help to provide complete information about the company, readers should keep in mind that forward-looking statements are much less reliable than historical information.
Source: EPITOPE Inc.
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