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Fitch affirms Bio-Rad's rating; outlook stable

Fitch Ratings affirmed Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc.'s BBB- long-term issuer-default rating.

The outlook on the rating is stable.

The rating agency highlighted Bio-Rad's new long-term business strategy, unveiled in 2017, which involves seeking attractive acquisitions as well as a refocus on research and development spend. Fitch assumes EBITDA margin improvement, annual acquisitions and modest share repurchases under the new development plan.

Additionally, Fitch described the company as a value-based acquirer, conducting tuck-in purchases since 2012, but now with the possibility for transformational transactions.

In terms of leverage, Bio-Rad's conservative financial policy, lack of significant acquisitions and repayment of subordinated debt in 2013 have consistently kept its leverage below 2.3x, according to Fitch. However, the rating agency said Bio-Rad's historically low leverage may be temporary, given its new business strategy.

Moody's previously affirmed Bio-Rad's Baa3 senior unsecured rating, with a positive outlook.

Bio-Rad is a life sciences and diagnostics company based in in Hercules, Calif.