Bio-Techne Corp. topped $1 billion in full-year sales for the first time, its latest results showed Thursday, and the Minneapolis-based life science firm said it is beginning a two-year leadership transition.
Chuck Kummeth, who as CEO since 2013 more than tripled the size of Bio-Techne, will leave the company in the summer of 2024.
"During the last nine years, Chuck has done an extraordinary job accelerating growth, building a strong leadership team and positioning Bio-Techne for the future," Robert Baumgartner, Bio-Techne's board chair, said in a statement.
Kummeth steered the firm through 17 acquisitions. Under his leadership, Bio-Techne's revenue grew from approximately $311 million to $1.1 billion. Its employee base grew from 800 to 3,000.
Before joining Bio-Techne, Kummeth held leadership positions at Thermo Fisher Scientific and 3M.
"My background is a lot of M&A. That's one of the reasons I was hired," Kummeth said in an interview. He credits about half of the company's growth during his tenure to those acquisitions. "I did it for many years at 3M."
Bio-Techne makes proteins and reagents such as antibodies that can be used by research and clinical diagnostic markets. Its products can be used by drug developers in a wide range of medical research categories including cancer, cell and gene therapy, cardiovascular biology and immunology.
The announcement of Kummeth's exit caught some company watchers by surprise. Alex Nowak, senior research analyst at Minneapolis-based Craig-Hallum Capital Group, wrote to investors: "A two-year CEO retirement transition was also a surprise and certainly will be hard shoes to fill."
On a morning conference call, analyst Puneet Souda of Boston-based SVB Securities told Kummeth, "I wish you weren't retiring."
As a member of Bio-Techne's board of directors, Kummeth will play a role in picking his successor.
"We have a two-year glide path to do it. There's no hurry," Kummeth said.
In fiscal fourth quarter ended June 30, Bio-Techne said its profit nearly quadrupled to $61.5 million, or $1.51 a diluted share. The bottom line was helped by a one-time accounting gain and a comparison against a quarter when it had a one-time charge.
Adjusted for one-time items, it earned $2.05 a share, slightly below analysts' consensus estimate of $2.08, but up from $1.88 a year ago.
Revenue rose 11.3% to $288.2 million and helped Bio-Techne climb to $1.1 billion for its full fiscal year. That was up nearly 19% from the previous fiscal year.
The company's stock closed down 0.2% on Thursday.
Kummeth told investors Bio-Techne had an "incredible" year and was positioned to continue its momentum. Demand was robust for proteomic reagents and analytical tools.
Its protein sciences business, which accounted for about three-fourths of its revenue, experienced a 16% jump in sales in the April-through-June period. The unit's operating margin narrowed somewhat to about 45% from 47% a year earlier.
Sales in its blood chemistry and diagnostics business, its second-biggest operation, rose about 7%. The business also experienced a slightly narrower operating margin.
Bio-Techne joined the S&P 500 in 2021. Kummeth said that the next CEO could expand Bio-Techne to the size of a Fortune 500 company. In 2021, it took revenue of at least $5.4 billion to make the Fortune list.
"It's very doable," Kummeth said. "I think this company has an incredible future ahead of it and we'll make sure that the leadership is of the caliber to make that happen."