Faster revenue growth from its automatic diagnostic testing technology helped Immunodiagnostic Systems (IDS) return to growth in the first half, with first-half declines in its older manual devices also slower than expected.
IDS said total revenues for the six months to September 30th would swell 13% to around £27m, with automated revenues up 37% and manual down a better-than-expected 14%.
Closing net cash improved from £20m to around £24m at period end.
Chief Executive Patrik Dahlen said he anticipated full-year revenues would show "modest" year-on-year growth.
The AIM-listed company directly placed far fewer automated IDS-iSYS instruments with customers than the year before, 16 compared to 41, and average revenue per instrument was down from an annual £76,000 to £71,000.
This was disappointing, IDS admitted, but the number of instruments placed or sold through distributors and OEM partners was more encouraging at 45, although these are less valuable, and the company stressed its placement pipeline was "encouraging" and it expected net direct placements to pick up "materially" in the second half compared to the first.
They will need to if the company is to make its expected 80 direct placements in the full year, plus 60 OEM placements.
For the full year IDS added that it expected pre-exceptional profit to be in line with the prior financial year, and that its second half net direct placements will pick up materially.
Broker N+1 Singer was "very disappointed" by the number of placements and has nudged its earnings per share forecasts up by 5% only due to a lower tax charge.
Shares in Image Scan fell after it said full year revenues would be lower than last year despite growth in its order book.
The company, which specialises in x-ray imaging for the security and industrial inspection market, said it took £3.3m of new orders in the year to the end of September, up 32% from the £2.5m it took in the previous year.
However, the lead time for key components has meant that a significant proportion of these sales will now fall into the first quarter of 2014, it said. As a result revenues for the full year will be £2.5m, down from £4.3m last time.
Chief Executive Louise George said: "Whilst the intake of new orders during the year has been an encouraging sign of the underlying progress of the company, the uneven phasing of these orders has resulted not only in disappointing interim results but also lower reported revenue for the whole year."
George added that following a restructuring during the year and given the ongoing volume of sales the board believed it had cut overheads to a level at which the company could become viable on a sustainable basis.