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ABI Q4 Revenues Up: Company Projects Modest Growth for FY04

NEW YORK, July 23 - Applied Biosystems this morning reported net revenues of $432.9 million for the fourth quarter ending June 30, up over $417 million for the same quarter of 2002.


The company reported net income of $96.1 million for the quarter, compared to $38.2 million for the year-ago period.


"The fourth quarter results for Applied Biosystems reflect benefits from the cost reduction program we announced last December and implemented during the last two quarters," said Tony White, Chairman of ABI's parent Applera, in a conference call to discuss the results. 


White was referring to the Foster City, Calif,.based company's move to lay off 500 workers., or 10 percent of its staff last December.


Additionally, the company attributed the strong fourth quarter to a modestly improved "funding environment" for life science research. "Our customers who receive grants from the National Institutes of Health have begun to receive funds from the fiscal 2003 budget," said ABI president Michael Hunkapiller, in the call. "However, both government funding for life science research in Europe and Japan and pharmaceutical investments in life science R&D remain constrained. Similarly, we have not experienced a rebound in orders from our biotechnology customers."


Breaking down revenue by business areas, Hunkapiller said sequencing sales increased 11 percent year-over-year for the fourth quarter, but added that this jump reflects "the significant effect that the timing of large genome center orders can have on any one quarter's financial results" rather than an overall increase in demand for sequencing instruments.  The company's mass spectrometry sales meanwhile increased 5 percent, while sales of applied genomics (gene expression and SNP assays) increased 11 percent, and PCR and DNA synthesis revenues declined 14 percent. Revenues from service contracts, royalties, licenses, and contract research rose 6 percent.


For the fourth quarter, ABI recorded research and development charges of $58.2 million, compared to $58.0 million for the same quarter in 2002.


For fiscal year 2004, ABI is projecting "single-digit annual revenue growth," Applera CFO Dennis Winger said. This growth is expected to be stronger during the second half of the fiscal year, due to timing in sales of its 3730xl instruments, new product introductions, which include a whole-genome microarray product the company said it plans to launch commercially at the end of the calendar year; new resequencing primers, and a SNPlex high-throughput assay kit.


Additionally, ABI said it is planning to launch a new online portal for customers, which includes a feature it calls the "myScienceK virtual research community." The new site is to provide for free search tools and graphical viewers as well as mechanisms for selecting and purchasing genomic reagents; and will provide fee-based access to Celera Discovery System.





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